Unidentified motorcycle-borne assailants had on Tuesday pumped bullets into 55-year-old Lankesh, known for her left- leaning outlook and forthright views against Hindutva politics, at her home in Bengaluru.
“The killing of journalist Gauri Lankesh is very painful … sad and we strongly condemn it,” Athawale told reporters here.
“Vichar ki ladaai vichar se hi honi chahiye. Kisi ek aadmi ki hatya karne se vichar khatam nahi kiya ja sakta hai.
(Ideology must be fought with ideology. An idea cannot be killed by murdering someone),” the minister of state for social justice and empowerment said.
“The Karnataka government should conduct a thorough probe into the killing and the culprits should be arrested immediately … whoever they are,” the chief of the Republican Party of India (A) said.
“The killers should be arrested and hanged,” Athawale said, adding that there was no need for levelling political allegations over the incident.
The journalist-activist, who was the editor of Kannada tabloid ‘Gauri Lankesh Patrike’, had returned home in her car and was opening the gate when the motorcycle-borne assailants fired at her indiscriminately. She died on the spot, police officials had earlier said.
The cold-blooded murder of Lankesh unleashed outrage across the country.
The Karnataka government quickly set up an IGP-headed Special Investigation Team (SIT) to probe the killing.
As the media fraternity and members of civil society reacted in horror and staged protests in Bengaluru, Delhi and several other cities, leaders cutting across party lines condemned the killing. However, top leaders of the Congress and the BJP were locked in a spat over it.