The Committee to Protect Journalists condemned Monday’s killing of journalist Ashutosh Srivastava and Sunday’s assault on journalist Raghav Trivedi in the northern state of Uttar Pradesh and called on authorities to thoroughly investigate the incidents and bring those responsible to justice.

At about 9:30 a.m. on May 13, Srivastava, a correspondent for the Hindu-right wing news channel Sudarshan News and a member of the ruling Hindu nationalist Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP), was shot several times by unknown assailants while riding his motorcycle at an intersection outside the city of Jaunpur, according to news reports. He was declared dead upon arrival at a local hospital and police were investigating the incident, those sources said.

CPJ was unable to establish if Srivastava was killed in relation to his journalism.

A month earlier, Srivastava had raised concerns about his safety with local police, after receiving threats due to his reporting on the illegal slaughter of cows, according to The New Indian Express and a reporter who spoke to CPJ on condition of anonymity, citing fear of reprisals.

It is illegal to slaughter cows in Uttar Pradesh and more than a dozen other Indian states. Cows are considered holy by Hindus and cattle traders have been attacked and killed by right-wing vigilantes.  

On May 12, Raghav Trivedi, a reporter with the digital outlet Molitics, was assaulted during an election rally addressed by Home Minister and senior BJP leader Amit Shah in the city of Rae Bareli, some 80 kilometers (50 miles) southeast of the state capital Lucknow, according to news reports.

Trivedi told the website Newslaundry that he was assaulted after he questioned BJP leaders about allegations that women had been paid to attend the rally. When Trivedi said that he had video interviews with the women, a group of BJP activists ordered him to delete the footage but he refused and they attacked him, called him anti-Muslim slurs, and accused him of spreading false information, the journalist told Newslaundry.

Trivedi said that police officers standing nearby did not respond to his pleas for help and his assailants eventually locked him in a room. Trivedi said he lost consciousness and woke up in the local district hospital, where he has been receiving treatment for his injuries.

The police registered a complaint against six unidentified individuals and an investigation was under way, according to The Indian Express.

“Reports of the killing of journalist Ashutosh Srivastava and the assault of Raghav Trivedi in Uttar Pradesh are deeply disturbing,” said CPJ India Representative Kunāl Majumder.  “The authorities must ensure that those responsible are brought to justice. Journalists in Uttar Pradesh must be able to cover the general elections without fear.”

Monday’s vote marked the fourth phase in India’s seven-week long general election, which the BJP of Prime Minister Narendra Modi, who has been in power since 2014, is expected to win. Journalists told CPJ that they feared political unrest, harassment, and censorship during the volatile election season, which has already been disrupted by violence.

CPJ’s email to the Uttar Pradesh Director General of Police, Prashant Kumar, and text message to the BJP spokesperson for Uttar Pradesh, Hero Bajpai, requesting comment did not immediately receive any replies.