NEW YORK, Jun 15 (APP): The Committee to Protect Journalists (CPJ), an independent watchdog body, Tuesday urged Indian authorities to conduct an impartial investigation into the death in Uttar Pradesh of journalist Sulabh Srivastava, and ensure that those responsible are brought to justice.
According to reports, Srivastava, a reporter with the privately owned broadcasters ABP News and ABP Ganga, was declared dead on June 13 at a hospital in Pratapgarh district, shortly after local labourers found his body near a brick kiln.
Police initially said he died in a motorcycle accident on his way home after reporting, but following a postmortem exam and amid reports that he had been threatened for his recent work, they announced that they were opening a criminal investigation into his death, the reports said.
“Authorities in India’s Uttar Pradesh state must conduct a swift and thorough investigation into the death of journalist Sulabh Srivastava, determine whether he was killed in retaliation for his work, and hold those responsible to account,” Steven Butler, CPJ’s Asia programme coordinator, in Washington, said.
“The Uttar Pradesh government needs to ensure that all threats to journalists are investigated fully, and that critical reporting does not become a death sentence.”
The day before his death, Srivastava had filed a complaint with the police over threats he received in response to his June 9 reporting on a criminal liquor-selling group, according to reports by The Hindu and The Wire. In his complaint, which was addressed to the Prayagraj zone additional director-general of police, Srivastava claimed that he was being followed and that he had heard from his sources that the criminal group was planning to harm him for his reporting, according to those reports.
Renuka Srivastava, the journalist’s wife, also said that he had received threats in the last few days, according to reports.
The CPJ said it texted Uttar Pradesh Police Director-General Hitesh Awasthy for comment, but did not receive any reply.