Girish Karnad was First on Hit List of Hindutva Group that Killed Gauri Lankesh: SIT

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Gauri Lankesh and Girish Karnad.

BENGALURU (PTI) — Veteran playwright and Jnanpith awardee Girish Karnad, who passed away here on Monday, was on top on the hit list of a right-wing group which allegedly shot dead journalist Gauri Lankesh, according to the Special Investigation Team that probed her murder.

Girish Karnad, known as a fearless liberal voice with his strong position against strident Hindutva, came under the radar of the right-wing group for never mincing words to flay communalism, it said.

The SIT had found a diary from the alleged killers of Gauri Lankesh, who was shot dead at her house on September 5, 2017, in which Girish Karnad’s name was present on top of the hit list they had prepared, the investigation officials had told PTI.

The SIT, in its charge sheet against those arrested in connection with the Lankesh murder case, said the accused were inspired by a book ‘Kshatra Dharma Sadhana’ which roughly translates to “practising the code for warriors”.

The group, headed by Amol Kale and Sujeeth Kumar, had named anti-Hindu people as ‘Durjan’ or evil people.

The unnamed group had decided that it was essential to eliminate such “evil people”, including Girish Karnad, the SIT officials said.

To achieve their ‘goal’, they had even surveyed Girish Karnad’s house to track his movement.

It was learnt that they had planned to kill Girish Karnad a year before Gauri Lankesh, but due to some glitch, deferred their decision and focused on Lankesh, the officials said.

During a protest to mark the first death anniversary of Gauri Lankesh, Girish Karnad had put on a placard around his neck which read “Me Too Urban Naxal”.

Subsequently, a complaint was lodged against him.

A staunch critic of Prime Minister Narendra Modi, Girish Karnad was among the 600 theatre personalities who signed a memorandum, asking people to vote against the BJP.

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