State media, RSF call for inquiry into journalists killings

ITANAGAR, Mar 28: The death of two journalists in Bihar has come as a matter of great shock and sadness for the media fraternity of Arunachal Pradesh.
News reports said that two journalists working for the Hindi daily, Dainik Bhaskar- Navin Nishchal and Vijay Singh – died on the spot when a Mahindra Scorpio allegedly driven by Mohd Harsu, husband of former village head Saheeda Pravin, rammed their bike in Bhojpur district on Sunday night.
Family members of the journalists and locals alleged that they have been “murdered” by a former village head.
The National Human Rights Commission has already taken suo-motu cognizance of media reports and has issued notices to the Bihar chief secretary and the Director General of Police calling for a detailed report in the matter within four weeks.
Expressing solidarity with the family of the deceased, the Arunachal Press Club, Arunachal Pradesh Union of Working Journalists and Arunachal Electronic Media Association have called for prompt investigation and justice for the victims.
Media reports had indicated that accused had heated arguments with the journalists and had threatened them with dire consequences.
Reporters Without Borders (RSF), while condemning the murder of two journalists who were deliberately run down by an SUV in Bhojpur, Bihar, on the evening of 25 March called on the Indian authorities to carry out a full investigation and take measures to protect journalists.
RSF has also called on the Indian authorities to shed all possible light on the murder of Sandeep Sharma, a TV reporter who was deliberately run down by a dumper truck in Madhya Pradesh, in a case apparently involving illegal sand mining and corrupt police.
A CCTV recording of his death leaves no doubt that the truck’s driver deliberately targeted Sandeep Sharma, who was riding a motorcycle.
Sharma feared for his life and had recently reporting receiving death threats. And he had accused a police officer of complicity with local sand mining mafia bosses, a claim supported by an audio recording that he had just made and disseminated.
“The shocking manner in which Sandeep Sharma was murdered is a terrible warning to journalists who investigate the sand mining mafia phenomenon,” said Daniel Bastard, the head of RSF’s Asia-Pacific desk.
As a result of the frequent violence against journalists, India is ranked no higher than 136th out of 180 countries in RSF’s 2017 World Press Freedom Index.