News reports indicate Chennakeshavalu was stabbed with a screwdriver, allegedly by Venkata Subbaiah, a police constable and his brother, Nani. Police superintendent Sudheer Kumar Ready said the constable had asked Chennakeshavalu to meet and discuss his story on the constable’s involvement in the alleged illegal sale of Gutkha, a tobacco product and Matka gambling. Chennakeshavalu was taken to a local hospital and died from his injuries.
Police confirmed Subbaiah has been dismissed from police service, charged, and arrested alongside his brother, Nani, for the suspected murder of Chennakeshavalu.
According to the IFJ’s monitoring, Chennakeshavalu is the second journalist to be killed in India for their work as a journalist in 2021. On June 13, Sulabh Srivastava, an ABP News journalist, died in suspicious circumstances the day after he filed a complaint to Uttar Pradesh police seeking protection. IFJ’s South Asia Press Freedom Report 2020-21, Truth in a time of contagion: The viral frontline documents the murder of five journalists in India between May 1, 2020 to April 30, 2021.
The IJU president, Geetartha Pathak, said: “Indian Journalists Union (IJU) condemns the heinous killing of Chennakeshavalu, a journalist of a local news channel EV5. We demand immediate arrest of the killers of Chennakeshavalu and compensation to his family by the government. The IJU also expresses deep concern at the deteriorating safety and security of journalists in Andhra Pradesh and asks the state government to ensure safety and security of journalists in the state.”
The IFJ General Secretary, Anthony Bellanger, said: “The IFJ is deeply saddened by the killing of Chennakeshavalu and extend condolences to his family. Impunity for crimes against journalists in India must end. The IFJ calls on Indian authorities to ensure the killers are swiftly brought to justice.”