Provincial journalist killed in eastern India

New York, April 29, 2013–Part-time reporter Jitendra Singh was killed Saturday in Khunti district, Jharkhand state, according to news reports. Members of the People’s Liberation Front of India (PLFI), a breakaway Maoist faction, claimed responsibility, but the motive is unclear. Singh also ran a construction business.

“The Indian government should fully investigate this murder to determine the motive and bring the killers to justice,” said Bob Dietz, Asia program coordinator for the Committee to Protect Journalists.

In a letter found in Singh’s pocket, the PLFI said the journalist was killed because he did not cooperate with them, according to news reports. “No one can work in the area without approval of the PLFI,” local media reported the letter as reading. News reports said Singh had written about activities of the rebels for the past 16 years.

But Singh also ran a construction business, and the daily newspaper The Hindu said he was allegedly killed in a dispute over collection of a levy on a road-building contract.

Because of electoral political disputes, Jharkhand state, in the east of India, is under direct federal rule.

With six unsolved journalist murders in the past 10 years, India ranks as the 12th worst country on CPJ’s global Impunity Index. All of the victims were print journalists who reported on crime, corruption, or politics.