Bengaluru, June 13: A day after the making the sixth arrest in the murder case of Gauri Lankesh, the Karnataka Police on Wednesday said that renowned film and theatre personality Girish Karnad, along with several other litterateurs and rationalists were also on the list of those suspected of killing the journalist-activist.
The revelation was made after the police recovered a diary from the suspects with entries in Devanagiri script. The diary lists personalities known for having strong views against hardline Hindutva, who were to be targeted, PTI quoted sources as saying.
Other than Karnad, the list in the diary also names politician-litterateur B T Lalitha Naik, pontiff Veerabhadra Channamalla Swamy of Nidumamidi Mutt and rationalist C S Dwarakanath.
Sources in the SIT said that some entries are coded and efforts are on to decipher them.
The development comes a day after the SIT arrested 26-year-old Parashuram Waghmare, but restrained from giving details on his role in the conspiracy saying it would affect the investigation.
Speculation is rife that Waghmare could be Lankesh’s assassin as his physical appearance matched that of the man in the CCTV footage recovered from her residence who was suspected of having shot her.
Waghmare was said to have links to Hindu right wing groups.
Inspector General of Police B K Singh, who heads the SIT, had told PTI yesterday that nothing had emerged during the probe so far to suggest that Waghmare had shot Lankesh.
Karnad is known for his strong anti-Hindutva stance and so is Lalitha Naik. Veerabhadra Channamalla Swamy is also a vocal critic of hardline Hindutva, while rationalist Dwarkanath had once even questioned the existence of Lord Rama, raising the hackles of pro-Hindu outfits.
“All these people were either admirers or supporters of Lankesh or had a viewpoint similar to hers. The others mentioned in the diary too were vocal about Hindutva,” SIT sources said.
The SIT has so far arrested six people — Parashuram Waghmare, K T Naveen alias Hotte Manja, Amol Kale, Manohar Edve, Sujeeth Kumar alias Praveen and Amit Degvekar.
While Naveen Kumar is from Maddur in Mandya district of Karnataka, Amol Kale and Amit Degvekar are from Maharashtra.
Four others were caught while planning to kill writer K S Bhagawan, who has come under repeated attack from Hindu outfits for speaking “scornfully” about Hindu Gods.
Gauri Lankesh, a journalist with strong Leftist views and anti-Hindutva ideology, was killed at the entrance of her house here on September 5 evening last year, triggering a nationwide outrage.
(With PTI inputs)