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India 17 April 2002

Journalist murdered in Uttar Pradesh

In a letter addressed to Vishnu Kant Shastri, Governor of the Indian State of Uttar Pradesh, Reporters Without Borders (Reporters sans frontières - RSF) expresses indignation at the murder in Lucknow (North India) of Paritosh Pandey, crime reporter on the local daily Jansatta Express. "If this crime goes unpunished, the whole profession will feel at risk. According to his family and colleagues, this cowardly assassination could be linked to Paritosh Pandey’s articles about organised crime in the city", states Robert Ménard, Secretary-General of RSF. The organisation, which defends freedom of the press, calls on the Governor to guarantee that a "serious and thorough" investigation be carried out to establish the reasons behind this murder, and to identify and bring to justice those responsible.

According to information gathered by RSF, Paritosh Pandey, a journalist on the local daily paper Jansatta Express, was murdered during the evening of 14 April 2002 while watching television at his home in Lucknow (State of Uttar Pradesh). The 32-year-old journalist was shot in the head five times by a number of individuals. He died immediately. His assassins managed to escape. The victim’s wife and daughter were not in the house at the time the crime was committed.

In shock after learning of the cold-blooded murder of their colleague, a group of journalists went to the main Lucknow police station. They demanded swift and decisive action from the police, accused of not taking the matter seriously. A struggle took place and one journalist was injured after being hit on the head with the butt of a policeman’s pistol. The following day, Governor Vishnu Kant Shastri promised that the initial results of the police investigation, being carried out under the authority of DI Harbhajan Singh, would be made known within three days. Several police sources confirmed that the involvement of the local Mafia was not to be ruled out.

Paritosh Pandey was a crime reporter on the Hindi daily Jansatta Express.

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