A 37-year-old reporter in India was killed for his reports exposing local corruption. Rakesh Singh Nirbhik who wrote for the Hindu daily Rashtriya Swaroop and his friend 34-year-old Pintu Sahu was burned alive inside their home in Balrampur on November 27th, reports NDTV. The two men died the following day but before Nirbhik died he was recorded on video saying “This is the price for reporting the truth.” The Reporters Without Borders(RSF) organization is calling on the murderers to be brought to justice.
On November 27th, three men entered Nirbhik’s home and doused him and Sahu with alcohol-based hand sanitizer and set the two men on fire. The assailants also set the house on fire to cover up the crime.
“The accused were trying to cover up the crime by making it seem like an accident,” Dev Ranjan Verma, the Balrampur police chief said. “But there were many loopholes and we understood this was a conspiracy.”
Rakesh Singh Nirbhik and Pintu Sahu was found with severe burns inside the house. Sahu had passed away but Nirbhik was still alive. He suffered from burns on 90% of his body and he was taken to the hospital where he died hours later.
Three men, Rinku Mishra, Akram, Lalit Mishra have been arrested in connection to the crime. Mishra is the son of local village chief Sushila Devi who was being reported on by Nirbhik. Nirbhik wrote about Devi’s corrupt actions in local infrastructure projects.
What’s appalling about this incident is that Nirbhik had reported to authorities that he was scared for his life from the three men harassing him. But no action took place to stop the three men from threatening Nirbhik, reports RSF.
“It is nonetheless shocking that this tragedy took place after the reporter formally notified the judicial authorities about the death threats being made against him,” RSF said. “It is high time for the Uttar Pradesh government to start debating the adoption of a law on journalists’ safety, like the one that already exists in Maharashtra state, for example.”
So far four journalists in India have been killed this year in connection with their reporting.