Pragjyotish Barta,Guwahati, 1 December 20ঃঃ Sad news continues to pour for the media fraternity of India as many scribes have fallen preys to assailants as well as the ongoing Covid-19 pandemic. Lately, journalist Rakesh Singh Nirbhik (35) from Kalvari village in Balrampur locality in Uttar Pradesh was found dead along with a friend on 28 November 2020 as a sudden explosion hiting the house severely injured both of them.
The reporter of Hindi daily Rashtriya Swaroop succumbed to burn injuries in a Lucknow hospital on Saturday morning. Rakesh’s father and wife alleged it a pre-planned murder as the scribe developed enmities against some locals because of his media reports. Rakesh even informed the district administration about fears for his life and also his family with two children but did not receive affective responds.
The Yogi Adityanath led UP government now assures justices to the family. The police have already arrested three individuals suspecting their involvement with the incident. Moreover, the government in addition to the financial aid of Rs 5 lakh promises a job to Rakesh’s wife, to bear the educational expenses for their children and to reconstruct the damaged house.
Earlier, a journalist from Andhra Pradesh, G Nagaraj (45) working for Tamil newspaper Villangam, was killed on 22 November. The Telugu reporter was attacked with sharp weapons by a group of goons in full public view at Hanumantha area under Krishnagiri district of Tamil Nadu. Seriously injured Nagaraj was taken to a nearby government hospital where the doctors declared him brought dead.
“Largely shattered by Covid-19, India’s mainstream media has witnessed an alarming number of incidents relating to journo-deaths. As the year 2020 approaches the end, India emerges as an unsafe land for professional journalists losing more than 50 scribes to corona aggravated ailments and over ten journalists to assailants,” said Nava Thakuria, the country representative of Press Emblem Campaign (PEC), a Geneva based international media rghts body.
Days back, a rural reporter along with his wife was killed in UP’s Sonbhadra locality on 16 November. Uday Paswan, who was associated with a Lucknow-based Hindi daily died on the spot, where his wife Sheetla Paswan succumbed to injuries next day in the hospital. Earlier another UP scribe Suraj Pandey (25) was found dead on a railway track at Sadar Kotwail area on 12 November. His family members in Unnao locality claimed that the Hindi newspaper reporter was murdered.
Assam’s Kakopathar based television journalist Parag Bhuyan (55) died in a mysterious road accident on 11 November night. The government also already ordered a CID probe into the incident and the police have seized the vehicle and arrested its driver and handyman from Namsai in Arunachal Pradesh. Earlier Tinsukia based television scribe Bijendeep Tanti (32) was found murdered on 8 August at his rented office.