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“Anti-Hindu” Gauri Lankesh had to be killed, confesses arrested man

K T Naveen Kumar, the first man to be arrested for the murder of senior journalist Gauri Lankesh in Bengaluru last year, in a confession to the police, has reportedly said he supplied bullets to a rightwing activist who told him they were for “Gauri Lankesh as she was anti-Hindu.”

Earlier, Kumar and another accused Praveen had confessed to issuing life threat letter to Mysuru-based rationalist writer Prof K S Bhagwan on September 9, 2015. Prof Bhagawan was given police protection after the murder of rationalist MM Kalburgi in 2015 in Dharwad, around 400 km from Bengaluru.

Kumar’s 12-page confession statement is part of the first chargesheet that was filed by the Special Investigation Team in May 2018. The chargesheet running into 650 pages was filed before a session court and includes 131 statements.

According to the police, Naveen Kumar is a member of a pro-Hindu outfit and founded the Hindu Yuva Sene in 2014. A student of commerce, he dropped out of college in Mysore reportedly after being influenced by right-wing ideology. He is also an alleged illegal arms dealer.

The confession statement includes a detailed route map leading to Gauri Lankesh’s house. Prepared by the killers, the map mentions different angles of the house that were taken into account before carrying out the attack. However, Naveen Kumar alias Hotte Manja has denied killing Lankesh. His family, too, has maintained throughout that he is innocent.

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