New York, September 10, 2013--An Indian journalist was killed late Saturday while covering clashes between Hindus and Muslims that erupted in the northern state of Uttar Pradesh, according to news reports.
"Authorities must ensure this killing is thoroughly investigated and hold the individuals responsible to account," said Bob Dietz, CPJ's Asia program coordinator. "This case is yet another reminder of the dangers that journalists face while covering unrest in India."
Unidentified assailants fatally shot Rajesh Verma, a part-time stringer for the TV news channel IBN 7, in the chest while he was covering confrontations between Hindus and Muslims in the small city of Muzaffarnagar, according to Ajesh Mohan, senior assistant editor at IBN 7, and local news reports. Mohan said Verma had worked for the station for about five years.
Indian officials said they had not been able to identify the perpetrator and that they were investigating the fatality.
Saturday's clashes erupted following police dispersal of a meeting by thousands of Hindu farmers calling for justice in last month's killings of two Hindu men, according to The New York Times. The victims were believed to have been killed by Muslims, news reports said. Officials said that the clashes were also fueled by a false video circulated last week that purportedly showed the two men being lynched. At least 28 people were killed and more than 90 individuals arrested in the violence, which spread to neighboring villages over the next two days, police said.
Last month, CPJ reported on a journalist murder in Uttar Pradesh state. CPJ research shows that at least 29 journalists have been killed in direct relation to their work in India since the organization began keeping records in 1992. With six unsolved journalist murders in the past 10 years, India ranked 12th on CPJ's 2013 Impunity Index, which spotlights countries where journalists are murdered regularly and killers go free.
- For more data and analysis on India, visit CPJ's India page here.