Based media watchdog seeks probe in Gauri Lankesh's murder

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However, top leaders of the Congress and the BJP were locked in a spat over the killing last night.

He was commenting on the murder of journalist Gauri Lankesh in Bangalore.

Citing the Supreme Court's Tuesday order, Kumar said the court ordered the Karnataka government to hand over the investigation to the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) into the death of Deputy Superintendent of Police M.K. Ganapathy, who was found dead in a lodge at Madikeri in Bengaluru past year.

But critics of Modi's government say dissent is being stifled as nationalist sentiment grows in the world's largest democracy.

West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee expressed alarm over the killing of Lankesh and demanded justice. "The Congress government must investigate the matter and book the culprits soon", he said.

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Reddy said that IGP (Intelligence) B K Singh will head the SIT. Her death has been met by mass protests and vigils in at least eight cities in her home state, as well as a dozen other cities, including Panaji.

Investigators pinned their hopes on the CCTV footage to get some clues about the identity of the killers. After parking her auto outside the gate and walking to the main entrance of her home the assailants fired at least seven rounds, police said.

The BJP's rivals used the occasion to launch a scathing attack on it, saying there was a pattern in the killing of Lankesh and the earlier murders of rationalist thinkers Narendra Dabholkar, Govind Pansare and M.M. Kalburgi - of muzzling the voice of dissent. Top media fora including the Editors Gulid of India, the Press Club of India, and civil rights bodies like ANHAD, have also condemned the killing. "The point is the entire ideology is to silence voices", he told reporters.

She had condemned the incident on the microblogging website on Tuesday also. In Ahmedabad, 200 people, including journalists, gathered at Gandhi Ashram in Sabarmati area in defence of freedom of expression, said Gujarat Media Club President Darshan Desai.