The Press Club of India (PCI) will hold a protest meet in Delhi at 3 pm on Wednesday against the murder of senior journalist Gauri Lankesh, who was shot dead by unidentified assailants in Bengaluru on Tuesday evening.

The PCI had strongly condemned the murder of the senior journalist in a statement released on Tuesday. "A fearless and independent journalist who gave voice to many causes and always stood up for justice has been shot dead in the most brutal manner in order to silence her voice," it said in the statement.

Lankesh, a known critic of right-wing politics and the Hindutva brigade, was shot dead at the entrance of her residence in Rajarajeshwari Nagar on Tuesday evening. A huge crowd of people gathered outside her residence protesting against her murder and demanded action against the assailants.

Lankesh also owned, edited and published a weekly Kannada tabloid magazine called Gauri Lankesh Patrike. She was last year convicted in a defamation case filed by BJP MP Prahlad Joshi. Following her conviction, she had told Newslaundry in an interview that "Modi Bhakts and the Hindutva Brigade" are "keen to somehow shut me up." She added that they wanted to see her in prison.

"The fact that she was shot dead at her Rajarajeshwari Nagar at a busy hour on Tuesday evening only indicates how fragile law and order situation has become in Bengaluru and miscreants and criminals are having a free run in the Capital city of Karnataka," the PCI said demanding that her killers be identified and strict action be taken.

"Reports have pointed to the involvement of some men in her killing, who shot her from close range at her residence. Whatever differences she had with anyone, it was certainly not the way to attack an outspoken journalist who was defenceless and had nothing to offer by way of resistance. Such attacks on the freedom of press will not be tolerated," the PCI added in the statement.

The PCI is not alone. The Press Association and the Indian Women Press Corps (IWPC) will also participate in protest meet in Delhi against Lankesh's killing. The three organisations condemned the attack, calling it a "dastardly and outrageous armed attack."

Gauri Lankesh
Gauri Lankesh.Gauri Lankesh Facebook Page

Karnataka Home Minister Ramalinga Reddy told reporters that three men came on scooters and fired four shots at her torso. "It was a close-range shooting and she died on the spot. She met the DGP thrice in past week but did not express concern of any threat to her life."

He added that the police would look through the CCTV footage of the surrounding areas for more information.

Lankesh was a member of the Karnataka government's Naxal Panel in 2016 to help reformed Naxals surrender before the police. The BJP had, however, objected to her inclusion in the panel and called her a Naxal sympathiser, the News Minute reported.

Protests are already underway at the Naik Bhavan in Bengaluru while several have been planned across India. The Kerala Union of Journalists will also hold protests at Jantar Mantar at noon.

Venues and timings of the protests across India:

Bengaluru: Naik Bhavan at 8:45 am

Dharwad: MM Kalburgi's residence at 10 am

Mandya: Silver Jubilee Park at 10 am

Chennai: Press Club at 11 am

Delhi: Press Club at 11 am

Ahmedabad: Laldarwaja, Sadar Baug at 4 pm

Hyderabad: Sunderayya Vignana Kendram at 4 pm

Pune: Opposite SP College, Sadashiv Peth, Tilak Road at 4 pm

Mangalore: Town Hall, Gandhi Statue at 4 pm

Mumbai: Amphitheatre, Carter Road at 6 pm

Politicians, journalists condemn killing

Leaders across political parties and journalists condemned the killing of Lankesh outside her residence in Bengaluru on Tuesday. Several took to Twitter to express their shock and anger at the incident and demanded that the culprits be nabbed and brought to book.

Karnataka Chief Minister Siddaramaiah arrives to attend the 1st day of the winter session of the Karnataka Assembly at Survarna Vidhana Soudha in Belagavi on Nov 21, 2016.IANS

Karnataka Chief Minister Siddaramaiah described the murder as an assassination of democracy. "Absolutely shocked to learn about the murder of renowned journalist Gauri Lankesh. I have no words to condemn this heinous crime," he said on Twitter.

Several politicians, including BJP Karnataka president BS Yeddyurappa, Kerala CM Pinarayi Vijayan, CPI(M) general secretary Sitaram Yechury and West Bengal CM Mamata Banerjee, among others, condemned the killing of the senior journalist.

Journalists and other prominent personalities also condemned her killing and called for strict action against the assailants. Several of them took to Twitter to express anger and disgust at the incident.

A statement from the Brihanmumbai Union of Journalists said: "Gauri Lankesh has been a trenchant and courageous critic of Hindutva and casteist politics. Since last November, she has been fighting her conviction in a criminal defamation case against BJP MP in Dharwad Prahallad Joshi and was out on bail."