Dharwad (Karnataka): Renowned Kannada scholar M.M. Kalburgi, a former Hampi University vice chancellor, was shot dead by an unidentified assailant on Sunday at his residence here, police said.
Kalburgi, 77, was shot in the head from close range when he opened the main door of his house in Kalyan Nagar suburb, Dharwad police commissioner Ravi Prasad told reporters.
The bleeding Kalburgi was rushed by his relatives to the civil hospital where doctors declared him dead.
"We have registered a murder case and formed a special team to hunt down the assailant," Prasad said.
According to a witness, two people came to Kalburgi's house on a motorcycle and sped away after the crime.
Dharwad is located about 430 km north of Bengaluru.
Chief Minister Siddaramaiah, who expressed shock over Kalburgi's death in tragic circumstance, flew to Dharward from Bengaluru in a chopper and paid last respects and homage to the departed writer.
Though Kalburgi was controversial for his independent views on social and religious matters, he was a noted epigraphist and well known writer of old Kannada literature, especially Vachana literature.
Born in Yaragal village in Vijayapura district of north Karnataka in 1938, Kalburgi was a Kannada professor in the Karnataka University here.
He was a recipient of many national and state awards, including the Sahitya Academi award, Nrupatunga award and Pampa award.