New York, January 28,
News reports quoted Rajput's family saying the journalist had received death threats from a health worker after publishing a story two weeks before his death about a man developing an eye infection following an operation. A note threatening to kill him if he did not stop writing was found near his body, the reports said.
The English-language Indian Express daily said police suspected the threats might be a cover for a murder by Maoist insurgents. Violence between the insurgents, government security forces, and state-supported vigilantes has escalated in recent years in the area.
"Authorities in Chhattisgarh must take seriously the
possibility that Umesh Rajput was targeted for his work as a journalist," said
In early December 2010, local media reported explicit death threats to three journalists based in the southern district of Dantewada in Chhattisgarh state. The threats appeared to come from a vigilante group fighting the long-running Maoist insurgency in the area. Rajput was not one of the journalists mentioned in the threats.