A reporter for the Hindustan newspaper, Navin Gupta, 35, was riddled with bullets by four men on motorcycles as he emerged from a public toilet near the market in Bilhaur, a town 50 km north of the city of Kanpur. He died while being rushed to hospital, leaving a wife and 4-year-old daughter.
The police have begun a hunt for the perpetrators but so far without success. For the time being, the motive for Gupta’s murder is unknown but Kanpur district journalists voiced concern about their safety after holding an emergency meeting.
“We support the investigation launched by the police, who must not let this murder go unpunished, but we cannot forget that Navin Gupta was at least the fourth journalist to be murdered in India in just three months,” said Daniel Bastard, the head of RSF’s Asia-Pacific desk.
“The federal authorities must quickly adopt measures to guarantee the safety of media personnel. The Uttar Pradesh government also has a duty to provide better protection for journalists investigating sensitive subjects. With three journalists murdered in the past two years, this state has a significant history in this regard.”
It was in Uttar Pradesh that the Jagendra Singh sustained fatal burns in June 2015 in connection with his investigative reporting on illegal sand mines; that local newspaper journalist Sanjay Pathak was beaten to death two months later, and that reporter Hemant Yadav was gunned down in October by a motorcycle hitman said to have been hired by the “mines mafia.”
Recent media victims in other parts of India include Gauri Lankesh, a newspaper editor who was gunned down outside her home in the southern city of Bangalore on 5 September; Shantanu Bhowmick a reporter who was beaten and stabbed to death in the northeastern state of Tripura two weeks later, and Sudip Datta Bhaunik, a reporter who was shot dead in the same state just ten days ago.