India: UP journalist hit by car and assaulted after critical report

Pateshwari Singh, a journalist associated with Bharat Kanak and Jana Sandesh Times, was hit by a vehicle and beaten up on June 29 after publishing critical news about a politician in Uttar Pradesh. The International Federation of Journalists (IFJ) and its Indian affiliates, the Indian Journalists Union (IJU) and the National Union of Journalists – India (NUJ-I) urge for the impartial investigation into the case.

The bureau chief of Bharat Kanak and the Ayodhya correspondent for Jan Sandesh Times  was  on his way from Tatarganj to JB Nagar Colony on the morning of June 29 when he was hit byblack car while riding his motorcycle in the city of Kotwali. Five to six unidentified assilants who were in the car then beat up Singh with canes and rods, leaving him critically injured. The assailants also snatched his mobile phone. He suffered serious head and skull injuries was rushed to a district hospital before being shifted to a private hospital.

According to a video shared on Twitter by Singh, during the assault the attackers talked of his critical news reports about Indra Pratap Tiwari,  a local lawmaker with the ruling Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP), and Vikas Singh Deogarh, an associate of the lawmaker. He said the attackers threatened to kill him. “They would have killed me if some locals had not rescued me,” he added in the video testimony.

Singh had published news about the lack of development in Tiwari’s constituency. A few days before the attack, an elderly man had reached out to journalist Singh and advised him not to write critical news stories about the BJP lawmaker.  Tiwari denied any involvement in the attack.

Following the incident, a First Information Report (FIR) was filed in Kolwali Police Station, Uttar Pradesh against unidentified persons.  The FIR was registered under sections 147 (rioting), 148 (rioting, armed with deadly weapon), 323 (voluntarily causing hurt) and 506 (criminal intimidation) of the Indian Penal Code (IPC), however doesn’t mention of the BJP lawmaker and his associate. Police say they have started an investigation on the case.

The brazen attack follows the killing of Sulabh Srivastava, a journalist with private television channel ABP News from Uttar Pradesh. He died under mysterious condition on June 13, a day after filing a complaint to Uttar Pradesh police seeking protection.

The IJU president, Geetartha Pathak, said:The IJU condemns the attack on journalist Pateswari Singh. We demand judicial inquiry of the incident of attack and punish the guilty."  

The NUJ-I president, Ras Bihari, said: “Members of the NUJ-I from all over the country are disappointed on regular incidents of attacks on Journalists in Uttar Pradesh. We demand prompt action against culprits by the local Police."

The IFJ said: “As the attack seems to be in relation to the critical news coverage about a politician, undue influence on the investigation agency is very likely. The IFJ urges the Uttar Pradesh government to carry out an urgent impartial and transparent investigation in the case swiftly.”

For further information contact IFJ Asia - Pacific on ifj@ifj-asia.org

The IFJ represents more than 600,000 journalists in 140 countries

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