Reporters Without Borders today condemned the 6 January murder of Prahlad Goala, the correspondent of the regional daily Asomiya Khaba in Thuramukh, in the northeastern state of Assam, allegedly at the behest of a forest warden he had criticised in several articles. Aged 32, he was the first journalist to be killed anywhere in world in 2006.
"The murder of this young Indian reporter is a tragic reminder that it is still dangerous to practice investigative journalist in some Indian states," the press freedom organisation said, welcoming the progress made in the police investigation and calling on the authorities to ensure that both the instigator and perpetrators are brought to justice.
Married and the father of a 14-month-old girl, Goala was run down by a car while travelling on a motor-cycle in Golaghat district (300 km east of the state capital, Guwahati). He was then repeatedly stabbed by several men and died of head injuries.
Zaman Jinnah, a forest warden in the Nambar reserve, has been arrested on suspicion of hiring men to kill Goala. Jinnah had made death threats against Goala and his family after Goala wrote a series of articles a week before accusing him of corruption and misconduct.
Journalists in Golaghat staged a one-day strike in protest against Goala’s murder.