Guwahati, 13 February: Press Emblem Campaign (PEC), the global media safety and rights body, demanded stringent punishments to perpetrators of the murder of a young scribe in central India’s State of Uttar Pradesh some days back. Condoling the demise of Sudhir Saini (30), the PEC also urges the UP government in Lucknow to adequately compensate the reporter’s impoverished family.
It may be mentioned that Sudhir, who worked for a local newspaper titled Shah Times, was physically attacked by three individuals while travelling by 8a car in Saharanpur locality on 26 January 2022. They had a quarrel with Sudhir, who was on a two-wheeler, following an issue of overtaking the vehicle. The car passengers not only stopped the reporter, but also thrashed him and finally threw to a water channel.
Seriously wounded Sudhir was taken to a nearby hospital by the locals, where he succumbed to injuries. The eye-witnesses provided vital inputs to the police about the vehicle and those passengers. The police team accordingly arrested Jahangir, Farman and Mannan accusing them of murdering the reporter, who was only son to the elderly parents.
“It’s so unfortunate that the life of a promising scribe had ended in such a way. India continues to be a dangerous country for working journalists as the populous nation lost six journalists to assailants last year,” said Blaise Lempen, secretary-general of PEC adding that year 2021 witnessed murders of 79 media workers in 29 countries, where Afghanistan emerged as the most dangerous country with 12 journo-casualties, followed by Mexico (10) and Pakistan (7).
Days back, another young scribe named Rohit Kumar Biswal died in a landmine blast, informed Nava Thakuria, PEC’s India representative. Biswal (40), who used to work for an Oriya daily titled Dharitri, stepped on the mine planted by left-wing rebels in Odisha’s Kalahandi locality and died on the spot. The incident took place on 5 February as the reporter went to cover a local election related developments where the ultra-left extremists threatened people to boycott the forthcoming polls.