Why Gauri Lankesh was assassinated: The story of an indoctrinated engineer

Prajwal Bhat 

Amol Kale was a 23-year-old mechanical engineer working in a multinational company in Pune when he went to a Shiva temple for a prayer meeting. Here, he met a charismatic couple with whom he had a deep conversation about Hinduism. This moment in 2003 changed Amol’s life so much that soon he decided that he would adopt a profoundly spiritual Hindu way of life. He quit his job, started selling books about spirituality, joined satsangs (religious events) and listened to speeches promoting violent Hindutva. Amol’s spiritual journey led him down a path of violent indoctrination — and he is a big reason why journalist Gauri Lankesh was assassinated in Bengaluru on September 5, 2017.

“If anyone said anything insulting about the Hindu religion, I would get very upset. I would have thoughts of taking violent actions against such people,” Amol told the investigators in the Gauri Lankesh assassination, according to the 10,000-page chargesheet filed by the Special Investigation Team (SIT), in the case. The SIT, which has arrested 17 people in connection with the murder of the fiery activist-journalist, has pegged Amol Kale as the mastermind behind the crime. Of the 17 people arrested, Amol is the only one who is also involved in the murders of rationalists Narendra Dabolkar and Govind Pansare, and in the plot to kill rationalist KS Bhagwan. Investigating officers found Amol to be the toughest person to interrogate, as he reportedly chanted mantras in his prison cell and refused to answer when he was questioned.

As the trial in the Gauri Lankesh case progresses in a Bengaluru court, what has emerged is that the group behind Gauri’s killing did not assemble because they wanted to murder her — they came together years earlier in order to identify ‘deshdrohis’, eliminate them, and establish a ‘Hindu Rashtra’. And the trigger for this group to identify Gauri as a target was not her extensive body of journalistic work, but a short video clip of an irreverent speech she made about Hinduism….


Four Indian intellectuals who were murdered for their ideas (2013-2017)