The International Federation of Journalists (IFJ) is
concerned at the serious lack of progress in the investigation into the death of
Umesh Rajput, a reporter with the Hindi daily Nai Duniya, a fortnight
after he was murdered outside his home in Chura village, near the state capital
of Chhattisgarh state.
called out of his home on the evening of January 23 by two unidentified men and
shot dead as he emerged. A note left at the site had a message written in
Hindi, which said that the murder was the consequence of stories the reporter
had been filing.
a local doctor and his assistant have been taken into custody. Two weeks before
his murder Rajput filed a story alleging that the doctor was guilty of
negligence in performing eye surgery, which resulted in serious post-operative
problems for a patient. He had been threatened by individuals believed to be
acting on the doctor’s behalf and had filed a complaint with the local police.
in Chhattisgarh have been agitating since the murder, demanding quick and
purposeful investigation. But according to Narayan Sharma, head of one of the
journalists’ unions in the state no breakthroughs have yet been made and the
interrogation of the two detainees has revealed little.
is distressed at this lack of progress since available evidence seems to
suggest that a journalist has been killed directly on account of his work,” IFJ Asia-Pacific Director Jacqueline Park said.
worries are compounded by the fact that this murder seems to be part of a
pattern of violence against media workers in Chhattisgarh state.”
December 20, Sushil Pathak, a senior reporter with one of the leading
Hindi-language newspapers, Dainik Bhaskar, was shot dead in Bilaspur
district of the state. Investigations have since seemingly concluded that this
murder was not related to his professional work and may have been caused by a
dispute over a real estate deal.
the same month, three senior journalists in the southern district of Dantewada
were identified by name in a note circulated anonymously among media offices, and threatened with a “dog’s death”
if they did not desist from reporting on human rights issues. The note, it was
widely believed, originated from one of the vigilante groups that have been
armed as part of a counter-insurgency operation against the state’s underground
on the authorities in Chhattisgarh to investigate all recent incidents of
threats and violence against journalists with due diligence,” Park said.
in the state are challenging and demand that journalists be allowed to function
in an environment free of fear.”
information contact IFJ Asia-Pacific
on +612 9333 0919
represents more than 600,000 journalists in 125 countries
IFJ on Twitter: @ifjasiapacific
IFJ on Facebook here