Two suspects, with their faces covered, are brought out at a press conference on the killing of Indian journalist Chandan Tiwari. (Handout)
Two suspects, with their faces covered, are brought out at a press conference on the killing of Indian journalist Chandan Tiwari. (Handout)

Local reporter covering corruption is abducted and beaten to death in Jharkhand, India

New Delhi, November 1, 2018–Indian authorities should thoroughly investigate the killing of reporter Chandan Tiwari and bring those responsible to justice, the Committee to Protect Journalists said today. Tiwari, a reporter for the Hindi daily Aj, was abducted on October 29, and found badly beaten the following day, according to NDTV. He later died in a hospital, according to reports.

Police said the reporter was found injured in a forest about 175 miles from Pathalgada, in Jharkhand. At a press conference today, police identified three people– Pintu Singh, Jamuna Prasad and Musafir Rana–whom they said are suspected of abducting and killing the journalist. Chatra police superintendent Akhilesh B. Variar told the press conference that police have arrested Prasad and Rana, but that Singh had absconded.

The police said they believe that Tiwari was targeted for exposing the alleged financial irregularities of Singh, who is a private contractor, according to a report in Dainik Bhaskar. Tiwari published a story on April 2 about Singh’s alleged corruption in a government-funded scheme to support rural employment, and also posted about it on his Facebook page. Variar said that police believe that the contractor plotted to kill Tiwari because of the financial loss he incurred over Tiwari’s reporting.

“The abduction and killing of Chandan Tiwari underscores the dangers local journalists face while working in India, particularly when exposing corruption,” said CPJ Deputy Executive Director Robert Mahoney in New York. “Jharkhand police must bring all those responsible, including the mastermind, to justice.”

In April, Tiwari filed a police complaint and sought police protection after receiving death threats over the phone, his editor Amit Kumar Agarwal told CPJ. Agarwal told NDTV that the journalist had not been provided with protection.

Tiwari is the second journalist to be killed in India this week. Achyutananda Sahu, a video journalist with the state-broadcaster Doordarshan, was killed in a Maoist ambush in Chhattisgarh the same day that Tiwari died. At least 34 journalists have been murdered in India in retaliation for their work since 1992, according to CPJ research. The country ranks 14th on CPJ’s Impunity Index, which highlights places where journalists are slain and their killers go free.