A prominent Indian journalist has been shot dead by unidentified attackers at her residence in the southern city of Bangalore, according to police.

Gauri Lankesh, the 55-year-old editor of the weekly local magazine Lankesh Patrike, was attacked on Tuesday as she left her car after reaching her home in Bangalore, the capital of Karnataka state, India.

The assailants fled the scene.

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Police officer RK Dutta said it was too early to say who killed her. He told The Associated Press agency that he had met Lankesh recently, but she had not spoken of any threat to her life. 

Last year, Lankesh was found responsible in a defamation case by a politician of India's ruling Bharatiya Janata Party for her writings about Hindu nationalists.

In 2015, an Indian scholar and critic of religious superstition, Malleshappa M Kalburgi, was killed in a similar manner in Bangalore after receiving death threats from angry right-wing Hindu groups for criticising idol worship.

He was the third critic of religious superstition to be killed in the country in three years.

'Voice silenced'

Lankesh's friends described her as a fearless and outspoken journalist. 

Following the news of her death, politicians, writers and fellow journalists took to social media to express their outrage at the "heinous crime".

Lankesh was the daughter of famous poet-turned-journalist P Lankesh, who started Lankesh Patrike.

Source: Al Jazeera and news agencies