In less than 24 hours, gunmen have shot dead two journalists in separate incidents in eastern India, police and local reports said on Saturday, the latest media killing in Asia’s deadliest country for reporters.
Rajdeo Ranjan, the local bureau chief for Hindi-language daily Hindustan, was travelling on his motorcycle late Friday in Bihar state when a group of unknown assailants shot him five times.
“He was shot from very close range. We rushed him to a hospital where he was declared dead on arrival last night,” local Siwan district police chief, Saurabh Kumar Sah, told AFP.
Sah said police were yet to ascertain the motive behind the killing, but two people have been detailed for questioning.
“We are focusing more on the professional angle since he may have written some things about certain people, which may have led to this,” he said.
Television footage showed villagers collecting firewood to prepare Ranjan’s funeral pyre as family members and women sat on the ground wailing, holding their heads in their hands.
Late on Thursday, television journalist Akhilesh Pratap Singh was also shot dead by unknown assailants as he returned home on a motorbike in restive Jharkhand state, which neighbours Bihar, according to local reports.
India was Asia’s deadliest country for journalists in 2015, according to Paris-based Reporters Without Borders. It is also one of the most restrictive countries for the press, ranked 133 out of 180 nations by the group.