[UPDATE] According to the latest reports, the two journalists were on their way home after attending a cultural function earlier that night and did not attend the event as part of their work or for any news coverage.
Journalists Abdul Latif and Deepankar Rai, affiliated with local daily Dainadin Baarta and the All Assam Student Union (AASU), were killed around midnight on April 5 when the car they were travelling in crossed the incomplete Barghola-Kahibari link bridge over the Aai river.
The vehicle was found lying on its side on the east side of the bridge, hanging over the water. The bodies of the deceased journalists were recovered later that morning from the river. It remains unclear as to why the car attempted to travel across the incomplete bridge.
The journalists reportedly had a disagreement with a local syndicate. According to media reports, district authorities are investigating the case.
The death of an Assam journalist in a road accident was also documented as ‘suspicious’ by the IFJ in 2020. Parag Bhuyan, a senior journalist and vice president of Tinsukia District Journalists’ Association (TDJA), was critically injured after being struck by an oncoming vehicle. His employers had alleged he was deliberately killed for exposing illegal activities and corruption in the area.
The IFJ said: “The IFJ offers its condolences to families of Abdul Latif and Deepankar Rai and stands in solidarity with India's journalist community.”