Respected journalist Gauri Lankesh, who edited a tabloid magazine in the southern state of Karnataka, was killed outside her home. She was an outspoken critic of right-wing Hindu nationalist politics.
Police in the Indian city of Bangalore said assailants fired multiple times at journalist Gauri Lankesh as she walked from her car to her home on Tuesday.
The three attackers, who were on motorbikes, quickly fled the scene and Lankesh died "instantaneously" after two bullets hit her chest and one her forehead, according to a Press Trust of India (PTI) report.
Top police officer R.K. Dutta said it was too early to say who killed her. He said he had met Lankesh recently, but she did not mention any threat to her life.
The 55-year-old, who edited a weekly tabloid newspaper in the local Kannada language, was an outspoken critic of right-wing Hindu extremism.
In 2016, she narrowly avoided jail after being found guilty of defamation of two politicians from India's ruling Bharatiya Janata Party for her writing about the issue.
India's otherwise progressive southern state has seen some targeted killings of political activists and scholars in the recent past.
In 2015, scholar Malleshappa M. Kalburgi was killed in a similar way, also in Bangalore. He had received death threats from angry right-wing Hindu groups after he criticized idol worship and superstitious beliefs by Hindus.
Two years ago, India was rated as the deadliest country in Asia for journalists by Paris-based Reporters Without Borders.
mm/bw (AFP, AP, Reuters)