Parashuram Waghmare of Sindhagi in Vijayapura has reportedly confessed to the Special Investigation Team (SIT) that he had shot Gauri Lankesh, an activist and a journalist, who was assassinated on September 5, 2017, at her residence in Bengaluru.
The activist-journalist was actively involved in the work of the Karnataka Communal Harmony Forum and the movement of Lingayats for the minority status, just like Prof. M M Kalburgi, who was assassinated on August 30, 2015 – two years before Lankesh. The right wing Hindutva organisations were suspected to be behind both these murders. In the midst of the rage and protest that the assassination had given rise to, there were right wing organisations and their sympathisers, who were celebrating her death.
SIT had filed a 650-page chargesheet before the First Additional Chief Metropolitan Magistrate on May 30, 2018. The chargesheet had accused Hindutva activist T Naveen Kumar in the case. The interrogation of Naveen Kumar had led to the possibility of involvement of Praveen alias Suchith Kumar from Mangalore.
Waghmare was arrested on June 12, 2018, and was produced before the 3rd ACMM Court. He has been given police custody for 14 days, for further investigation. Waghmare’s is the sixth arrest in connection with the killing of Lankesh. The SIT had earlier arrested five people – K.T. Naveen Kumar alias Hotte Manja, Amol Kale, Manohar Edve, Sujeeth Kumar alias Praveen and Amit Degvekar.
During the investigation, Waghmare has confessed of agreeing to kill Gauri Lankesh “to save Hindu religion”. SIT has also stated that Waghmare was approached by a certain man to kill Lankesh and save Hindu Religion from “destruction” in August 2017. He agreed to it after watching a few videos of Gauri Lankesh, as “her stances on Hindu religion made my blood boil”.
He has noted that neither T Naveen Kumar nor Praveen alias Suchit Kumar had approached him, and that he will be able to identify the person on seeing him. However, according to a report in the Kannada daily Prajavani, Waghmare was trained to use the airgun by the person who had approached him initially. SIT has also stated that at least three more people involved in Lankesh's killing are yet to be arrested.
Fundraising for Waghmare’s family
During the investigation, Waghmare narrated that the person who approached him to assassinate Gauri Lankesh to save Hinduism, also had promised him of making sure that his future will not be at risk.
Sri Rama Sene – a Hindu Right wing group – has appealed to the citizens on its Facebook page to donate to help the family of Waghmare. According to a report in the Prajavani, the appeal says, “Can’t you give away a part of your earnings and food for a patriot? Please donate money to help the family of Parashuram Waghmare.”
A post on Facebook by a certain Manchaleshwari Tonashyal roughly translates to: “Hindutva is the base of this country. Whenever some shitty people indulge in anti-Hindu activities, a Parashuram Waghmare will be born in every household.”
The SIT has sent a notice to Rakesh Matha, the leader of Sri Rama Sene, in the Sindhagi region.