Authorities in the Indian state of Uttar Pradesh must thoroughly investigate the shooting of journalist Devendra Khare and hold those responsible to account, the Committee to Protect Journalists said Thursday.
At about 7:30 p.m. on February 26, two masked men shot at Khare, a reporter for the privately owned Hindi-language broadcaster News1India, at his office in the Chandpur Balu Mandi area of the city of Jaunpur, according to multiple news reports and the journalist, who spoke to CPJ by phone. He was injured in his stomach and right hand and remained hospitalized in stable condition as of March 2, he said.
Khare told CPJ that he believed the attack was retaliation for his February 15 reporting on an alleged assault by the brother of a local political leader.
“The shooting of Devendra Khare underscores the precarious conditions that journalists work under in India,” said Beh Lih Yi, CPJ’s Asia program coordinator. “Uttar Pradesh authorities must swiftly hold the perpetrators accountable and take action to guarantee the safety of journalists throughout the state.”
On February 15, Khare broadcast a news story on News1India alleging that Rituraj Singh, brother of the president of the ruling Bharatiya Janata Party’s Jaunpur district branch, had assaulted a fellow right-wing politician, according to those news reports.
On February 18, two of Singh’s associates threatened the journalist at his office, warning him not to report further on the incident, Khare told The Print and CPJ.
Jaunpur police opened an investigation into the shooting, accusing Singh and unidentified individuals of attempted murder, criminal intimidation, and criminal conspiracy, according to those news reports. Khare told CPJ that he had not been informed of any arrests in the case as of March 2.
CPJ texted Jaunpur Circle Officer Kuldeep Kumar Gupta for comment but did not receive any replies. CPJ was unable to find contact details for Singh.
Previously, on February 6, journalist Shashikant Warishe was killedin Maharashtra state following his reporting on a land dispute.