17 June 2015 9:25 PM AEST: A group of men savagely attacked an Indian journalist and then dragged him behind a motorcycle in the state of Uttar Pradesh, says a New York-based media rights group citing news reports.
Committee to Protect Journalists (CPJ) said Haider Khan was left unconscious during the June 13 attack by the men who the victim believes carried out the attack to exact reprisal for his critical reporting.
The attack comes days after freelance journalist Jagendra Singh was killed in the same state. Local police personnel and a minister are accused of being involved in the murder.
“India has repeatedly failed to advance justice in the cases of journalists working for local print publications that have been slain in connection to their reporting on corruption, politics, or crime, CPJ research shows,” CPJ lamented.
Mr Khan told local reporters that he was attacked while following up what he believed was a tip about an accident. But when he arrived at the place mentioned by the caller, the stringer for a local TV channel in Pilibhit district was apparently surrounded by at least five men who beat him.
The journalist was hit on the head with a revolver, tied to a motorcycle, and dragged for about 100 meters rendering him unconscious, CPJ said in a statement.
“The government of Akhilesh Yadav, the chief minister of Uttar Pradesh, must act decisively to bring to justice the perpetrators of the attack on Haider Khan,” said CPJ Asia Program Research Associate Sumit Galhotra. “Coming on the heels of the murder of another journalist in the same state, it’s essential that authorities send a message that such violence will not be tolerated.”
According the Times News Network, Khan had recently reported on allegations that a man had seized land from his visually impaired brother.
“Last week, freelance journalist Singh died from burn injuries in a hospital in Lucknow. In a filmed statement before he died, Singh alleged that police set him on fire. Singh’s family named Ram Murti Singh Verma, a government official belonging to the ruling Samajwadi Party, in a police complaint about the attack, according to reports. Singh had reported critically on the official in several of his recent Facebook posts. CPJ was not able to reach Verma for response to the allegations against him.
“No arrests have yet been made in Singh’s case, although five police officers have been suspended, reports said. Chief Minister Yadav is under pressure from journalists and politicians from other political parties to take action against Verma,reports said.
“India is ranked number 13 on CPJ’s annual Impunity Index, which spotlights countries where journalists are murdered and their killers go free.”