PATNA: A journalist working with a prominent Hindi newspaper was gunned down by unidentified motorcycle-borne assailants in Bihar on Saturday morning, making it the second murder of a journalist in the state in the past six months.
Dharmendra Singh, a 35-year-old Dainik Bhaskar reporter, was shot at close range when he stopped at a roadside tea stall during his daily morning walk near his house in the Amra Talab area in the south-western district of Rohtas. While police declined to speak about the motive behind the murder, sources linked it to the anger his reports had caused in the local stone chips mafia. “He was writing frequently on the illegal stone chips units operated by a powerful local mafia.
This could be the motive to bump him off,” said a police official in Sasaram on condition of anonymity. Police said three men on a motorcycle shot Singh and sped away. Singh, who received three bullets on his chest, was rushed to the Sadar Hospital in Sasaram and was referred to Varanasi. He died on the way to Varanasi, sub-divisional police officer Alok Ranjan said.
In May, senior journalist Rajdeo Ranjan was gunned down in the north-western district of Siwan allegedly at the behest of controversial former MP Mohammad Shahabuddin. The case is being investigated by the CBI. The murder in broad daylight, taking place when Chief Minister Nitish Kumar is on his much-hyped ‘Nischay Yatra’ tour, prompted the Opposition to reiterate that Bihar was under ‘jungle raj’.
“This murder of yet another journalist shows how Bihar is under jungle raj. Nitish Kumar should tighten law and order in the state instead of engaging in his political tours,” said BJP national spokesperson Shahnawaz Hussain. The ruling alliance denied the allegations, saying the rule of law in Bihar was at its best and such murders were isolated incidents. , “The allegations are far from the ground reality and politically motivated,” JD(U) leader K C Tyagi said.