The Karnataka government decided to form a Special Investigation Team to probe the killing even as the Union home ministry sought a report from the state government.
The body of senior journalist Gauri Lankesh was laid to rest with state honours a day after she was gunned down by unidentified assailants, as the damp weather condition in the city matched the sombre mood.
Chief Minister Siddaramaiah, Home Minister Ramalinga Reddy, multi-lingual actor Prakash Raj, playwrights, theatre personalities, journalists and social activists were in attendance.
Besides, a large number of people thronged the TR Mill crematorium to pay their last respect to Gauri. Rains washing away their tears.
As the body was laid to rest in the Lingayat burial ground in the crematorium, slogans like ‘Gauri Lankesh Amar Rahe’ and ‘Gauri Lankesh Zindabad’ filled the air.
Rains could not dampen people’s respect for 55-year-old Gauri, known for her anti-right wing stand.
Earlier, the Karnataka government decided to form a Special Investigation Team to probe the killing even as the Union home ministry sought a report from the state government.
Briefing reporters after a meeting with top police officers and state Home Minister Ramalinga Reddy, Chief Minister Siddaramaiah said the SIT will be headed by an inspector general of police level officer.
Karnataka Intelligence Inspector General of Police B K Singh will head the Special Investigation Team set up by the state government to probe the killing of senior journalist and activist Gauri Lankesh.
Deputy Commissioner of Police (West) M N Anucheth will be the Investigating Officer of the 21-member SIT, state Home Minister Ramalinga Reddy said.
“The government has passed an order in this regard,” he said.
His government, the chief minister said, was firm on tracking down the killers at the earliest and directed the state director general of police to form the SIT.
The chief minister said he has an 'open mind' for Central Bureau of Investigation probe in the case.
'But let the SIT investigate. If family members are very particular, I am with an open mind,' he said.
Union Home Minister Rajnath Singh directed Home Secretary Rajiv Gauba to get a report from the state government, a home ministry official said.
The Karnataka government has been asked to provide details of the crime and the steps taken to arrest those involved in the killing, the home ministry official said.
The journalist, known for her Left-leaning outlook and forthright views against Hindutva politics, was shot at her home in Bengaluru on Tuesday night.
Lankesh had returned home in her car and was opening the gate when the motorcycle-borne killers fired at her indiscriminately.
Two bullets hit her in the chest and one on her forehead. She died instantaneously.
The Congress on Wednesday condemned the killing with party president Sonia Gandhi saying it was a chilling reminder that 'intolerance and bigotry is raising its ugly head in our society'.
"The series of killings of rationalists, free thinkers and journalists in the country has created an atmosphere that dissent, ideological differences and divergence of views can endanger our lives. This cannot be and should not be tolerated," Sonia Gandhi said in a statement.
"It is an extremely sad moment for our democracy and a chilling reminder of the fact that intolerance and bigotry is raising its ugly head in our society," she said.
Sonia and party vice-president Rahul Gandhi spoken to Siddaramaiah and urged him to swiftly bring the killers to book.
"Every possible measure should be taken to maintain a safe and secure atmosphere in the state," she added.
"Anybody who speaks against the ideology of the BJP (Bharatiya Janata Party) and the RSS (Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh) is pressured, beaten, attacked and even killed," Rahul Gandhi told reporters.
The Congress vice president attacked Prime Minister Narendra D Modi and described him as a 'skilled Hindutva politician', what he said had a different meaning for his base and another one for the world.
"No one can suppress the truth. The RSS and BJP ideology is trying to suppress the truth, but this cannot happen in India," Rahul Gandhi said.
Asked about Modi's silence on the issue, Gandhi said, '...the entire ideology is to silence voices'.
"When sometimes the prime minister feels there is too much pressure to speak, then he says something, but the entire ideology is to crush dissent and this is resulting in a serious problem in India," he said.
"The idea is there should be only one voice in this country. There should not be any other voice except one voice and that is just not the nature of this country," he said.
The BJP has asked the Karnataka government to swiftly probe the murder and arrest the guilty.
Union Minister Ananth Kumar -- who was elected to the Lok Sabha from Bengaluru South -- targeted Siddaramaiah for what he said was the poor law and order situation in the Congress-ruled state.
"Senior journalist of Karnataka Gauri Lankesh has been murdered mercilessly. We strongly condemn this heinous murder. We request the state government and Chief Minister Siddaramaiah to do a swift probe, arrest the guilty quickly and punish them severely," Ananth Kumar told reporters.
The Siddaramaiah government, the Union minister said, had not succeeded in taking murder investigations to their logical conclusions.
The Supreme Court, he added, had on Tuesday handed over the probe into the mysterious death of Deputy Superintendent of Police Ganapathy to the CBI while questioning the state government's investigation.