India: Reporter stoned to death

New York, June 15, 2006—The Committee to Protect Journalists called today for a full investigation into the death of Arun Narayan Dekate, a reporter with the Marathi-language daily Tarun Bharat in Nagpur, central India.

Up to four unidentified men attacked Dekate on June 8 as he was riding with a friend on a motorcycle, according to The Hindu newspaper. He was pounded with rocks and died from his injuries in hospital in Nagpur on June 10.

Police, who have opened and investigation, did not give a motive for the attack. But Indian media reports said Dekate had recently written articles about illegal gambling in Takalghat village, about 19 miles (30 kilometers) from Nagpur. Takalghat has about 2,500 inhabitants. Dekate also cooperated with police from the nearest town, Bori, in their investigations, which had apparently resulted in several arrests.

“We condemn this vicious attack on our colleague,” said Ann Cooper, CPJ’s executive director. “We urge investigators to make every effort to bring the killers to justice swiftly.”

India is home to a vibrant press, and the killing of journalists outside of Kashmir is rare. Nevertheless, reporter Prahlad Goala, of the Assamese-language daily Asomiya Khabar was murdered near his home in Assam after writing a series of articles that linked local forestry service officials to timber smuggling.