Journalists’ Forum Assam (JFA) expressed shock and serious concern over murder of three journalists since January this year and reiterated its old demand for a comprehensive national action plan to safeguard journalists and ensure justice to the victims.
The third case of assassination was reported from Madhya Pradesh, where Kamlesh Jain was shot at his office in the Pipliyamandi locality of Mandsaur district on May 31.
Kamlesh, 42, was rushed to a nearby hospital, where the attending doctors declared him brought dead.
According to the police, two miscreants entered into Kamlesh’s office and one of them shot him. The miscreants fled on their motorcycle soon after the incident. The police have reportedly detained two individuals suspecting their role in the crime.
Engaged with an Indore-based Hindi daily, the journalist exposed a few local people involved in illegal liquor trade with a number of roadside dhabas (restaurant) and he even invited threats from them a few days back with dire consequences.
“Kamlesh Jain is the third scribe victim this year till date after Hari Prakash and Brajesh Kumar Singh. They pursued critical and courageous journalism and paid heavy prices. But, how many journalists have to die to convince the Union government to adopt a specific protection law for the media persons,” questioned JFA president Rupam Barua and secretary Nava Thakuria.
In a statement, the JFA pointed out that the year started with bad news for the media fraternity as a Hazaribagh (Jharkhand) based journalist was reportedly killed in a mysterious situation. Hari, 31, was missing for a few days and his body was found on January 2. A law graduate, Hari too used to work for a Hindi daily.
Next day, one more sad news broke from Bihar, as Brajesh, 28, was shot at Samastipur locality by unidentified goons. He received serious injuries on his head and died on the spot. The central Indian state earlier lost two scribes last year, namely Rajdeo Ranjan and Dharmendra Kumar Singh to assailants.
India as whole witnessed murder of six journalists in 2016 and emerged as one of the worst places for working journalists which includes Syria, Yemen, Iraq, Libya, Mexico, Afghanistan, Burundi etc, where journalists are being attacked deliberately and justices were rarely delivered to the bereaved families.
The world’s largest democracy lost five journalists to assailants in 2015, which was preceded by two cases in 2014. In 2013, as many as 11 such murders were reported in India, where three Northeast media employees (Sujit Bhattacharya, Ranjit Chowdhury and Balaram Ghosh from Tripura) also fell victim to the perpetrators.