Lucknow(dna): Even as the state government stubbornly refuses to take any action whatsoever against its minister of state charged with a journalist’s murder, the scribe’s family and supporters have started an indefinite dharna demanding a CBI probe.
Journalist Jagendra Singh Image Courtesy: Facebook
In related developments, BSP chief Mayawati on Sunday slammed the Akhilesh Yadav regime on this count while the Indian Federation of Working Journalists (IFWJ) announced a dharna at Jantar Mantar in New Delhi to demand justice and compensation for the scribe’s family.
Meanwhile, there are reports of the family being offered money and also being intimidated to keep silent. The family members are demanding a CBI probe into the incident, immediate arrest of the minister and dismissal of the policemen involved in the horrific crime. The five cops who actively participated in the crime have been suspended.
The incident happened on June 1 at Khutar in Sahjahanpur where the journalist Jagendra Singh was set on fire by cops, allegedly at the behest of Minister of State Ram Murti Singh Verma, reported to have been angered by the scribe’s posts on Facebook exposing his dubious land deals.
“We are getting threats and also offers of money to keep silent on my father’s murder,” Singh’s son Rahul told reporters on Sunday. He said senior SP leader Mithilesh Kumar had visited them ostensibly to offer condolences. “But he took me aside and said we would never be able to do anything against the minister,” he said, adding that the leader’s hangers-on told him and his father Sumer Singh to accept Rs 10 lakh and “compromise”. Sumer confirmed this before reporters, too.
Speaking on the issue, Mayawati expressed concern over the rising attacks on journalists in UP. “This is not only an attack on journalists but on democracy itself,” she said at a press conference. She said the law and order situation was at its worst under the Samajwadi Party government.
“The minister should have been arrested the very day the journalist was burnt,” she said, adding that it was “indeed” shameful that the minister continued in office despite being accused in the murder case.
The journalist in his dying declaration videotaped by local authorities had clearly named the minister and the cops involved for burning him alive. He had succumbed to the severe burns on June 8.