Khare, a district correspondent for Hindi-language broadcaster News1India, was sitting with his colleagues outside the outlet’s offices on the evening of February 26 when he was shot by two unidentified men. Khare suffered bullet wounds to his stomach and hand but managed to flee without any fatal injuries. According to eyewitness accounts, the assailants covered their faces and were riding a black motorcycle.
The journalist suspects the attack may be in retaliation for a report published on February 15 on assault allegations involving Rituraj Singh, brother of Pushpraj Singh, the president of the incumbent BJP’s Jaunpur district. In a viral video, Rituraj was allegedly seen assaulting fellow right-wing political figure Rajendra Tripathi after a car accident.
In his reports to police and news outlets, Khare said he had been previously visited by Singh’s associates to retract the article, including one incident in which Khare’s father was allegedly threatened and assaulted.
Khare has since filed a case against Rituraj and others on charges of attempted murder, criminal intimidation and criminal conspiracy. Investigations into the incident are still ongoing, with Khare currently under police protection.
On February 6, Maharashtra-based journalist Shashikant Warishe was killed by a local realty broker after releasing a report on the broker’s alleged illegal land-grabbing and BJP connections. In 2022, the IFJ documented the deaths of two targeted killings of journalists in India in its annual Killed List.
The IFJ said: “Journalists should be able to report without fear of political or personal retribution. Freedom of the press and information are critical in the functioning of a democratic society and impunity must not be permitted to run rife for crimes against journalists. The IFJ condemns the attempted murder of Devendra Khare and urges the Indian state and central government authorities to investigate the incident swiftly, thoroughly, and transparently.”