By Prajwal Bhat / The News Minute

At the age of 20, Parashuram Waghmore had dropped out of his B.Com course in a college in Raichur, and returned to his hometown of Sindagi where his family lived. A body-building enthusiast, Parashuram found employment with his uncle, who ran a utensil shop in the town. Young and yearning to do something more with his life, Parashuram readily agreed when a group of Sri Ram Sena members approached him to attend one of their meetings on protecting the Hindu religion. This was in the beginning of 2012, and in just a couple of weeks, Parashuram was so convinced by the group’s ideology that he was part of a team that hoisted a Pakistan flag outside the Tehsildar’s office in Sindagi, inciting a communal clash in the town.

Parashuram, along with his team, tried to make people believe that the flag was hoisted by Muslims. He was arrested for causing a communal clash, and spent three months in jail. But his time in jail did not deter him from pursuing his newfound calling for violent Hindutva after he was released. On the contrary, he found active encouragement from Hindutva extremists who were scouting for people to join them.

One such recruiter was Sujith Kumar alias Praveen from Karnataka, a member of the Hindu Janajagruti Samiti (HJS), an offshoot of the Goa-based hardline Hindutva group Sanatan Sanstha. Sujith, known to Parashuram as Praveen, was the scout for the team being put together by Amol Kale for the assassination of journalist-activist Gauri Lankesh.

Parashuram was recruited into the assassination team in 2016. At this point, the body-building college dropout did not know who Gauri Lankesh was or why she was being targeted. Sujith had been grooming the young man for several years by then, and introduced him to Amol Kale — known to Parashuram only as ‘Bhai Saheb’.

According to a signed confession by Parashuram Waghmore given in police custody, which is part of the 10,000 page chargesheet filed by the Special Investigation Team (SIT), Amol Kale convinced Parashuram that it was his duty to kill Gauri Lankesh for her anti-Hindu views. “A country where farmers, women, saints, soldiers and the holy cow cannot lead a peaceful life will always be in the grip of chaos,” Amol reportedly told Parashuram to convince him to take up the mission.

This story was originally published in . Read the full story here