Indian journalist dies after being attacked

New York, March 6, 2012–The Committee to Protect Journalists condemns the murder of Indian journalist Rajesh Mishra in the central state of Madhya Pradesh. Mishra is the second journalist killed in Madhya Pradesh in a month.

Two assailants hit Mishra on the head with an unidentified weapon while he was at a public tea stall in the town of Rewa on March 1, according to the Hindustan Times. The journalist was treated for his injuries at a local hospital, but died while being moved to a bigger hospital, news reports said.

Mishra had written a series of articles on financial irregularities in local schools for the Hindi-language weekly Media Raj, news reports said. The journalist’s family members said he had received telephone threats for one week prior to the attack, the Times of India reported.

The Hindustan Times reported that police had arrested five men, including Rajneesh Banerjee, the owner of the schools Mishra was covering and another local newspaper, in connection to the attack on the journalist.

In February, senior journalist Chandrika Rai, his wife, and their two teenage children were found beaten to death in their home in Umaria, also in Madhya Pradesh state. CPJ is investigating the attack on Chandrika Rai to determine whether it was related to his work.

“The murder of Rajesh Mishra is deeply disturbing, especially coming so soon after the horrific attack on Chandrika Rai,” said Bob Dietz, CPJ’s Asia program coordinator. “The central government must ensure these murders are immediately and thoroughly investigated.”

India ranks 13th on CPJ’s Impunity Index., which highlights countries where journalists are regularly slain and their killers go free.