PRAYAGRAJ: A news channel reporter who had recently run a story exposing the wrongdoings of the liquor mafia in Uttar Pradesh was on Sunday night found dead under “mysterious circumstances”, prompting strong reactions from the media fraternity and politicians.
Pratapgarh-based Sulabh Srivastava was found dead just a day after he had written to ADG (Prayagraj) Prem Prakash that his life was under threat and sought protection.
India is ranked 142 among 180 countries in Reporters Without Borders’ 2021 report. The report also categorised India as “one of the world’s most dangerous countries for journalists trying to do their job properly.” This is why. The report had also noted that four Indian journalists were killed in connection with their work in 2020. This murder underlines the confidence with which the liquor mafia operates in the state. Authorities must take a portion of blame for the incident, especially since the deceased had earlier complained in writing to the police.
Initially, the death was being treated as an accident case after some eyewitnesses told police that they saw Srivastava’s motorcycle hit a roadside pole and then ram into a hand pump before he hit the ground. He was rushed to a nearby hospital where he succumbed. His wife stated that the crime was dressed up to make it look like a road accident. Police have now registered a case of murder.
The incident saw opposition leaders including AICC general secretary Priyanka Gandhi Vadra, SP chief Akhilesh Yadav and TMC president Mamata Banerjee take to twitter to attack the Yogi Adityanath government. “The Editors Guild of India is shocked by the cavalier manner in which UP Police is treating the mysterious death of TV journalist, Sulabh Srivastava, in Pratapgrah. Srivastava believed that some people were following him. The authorities paid no heed to his fears,” the Editors Guild of India said.