New Delhi, August 9, 2021 — Authorities in the Indian state of Andhra Pradesh must thoroughly investigate the death of journalist Chennakeshavalu and ensure that those responsible are held to account, the Committee to Protect Journalists said today.
Yesterday, in the Kurnool district of the southeastern state of Andhra Pradesh, a local police officer and his brother stabbed Chennakeshavalu, a reporter with the privately owned news channel EV5, according to news reports.
Chennakeshavalu, who uses one name, died later that day of his injuries, according to those reports, which said that police have arrested the officer, Venkata Subbaiah, and his brother, identified as Nani, for suspected murder.
“Indian authorities have acted swiftly in arresting the suspected killers of journalist Chennakeshavalu; now they must ensure that justice is served in his case,” said Carlos Martínez de la Serna, CPJ’s program director. “Authorities in Andhra Pradesh should send a clear message that violence against journalists will not be tolerated.”
Sudheer Kumar Reddy, the Kurnool district superintendent of police, was quoted in those news reports saying that the suspects invited Chennakeshavalu to speak with them about his reporting on Venkata Subbaiah’s alleged illegal gambling activities and then attacked him, stabbing him multiple times in the back with a screwdriver.
In a phone call with CPJ, Reddy confirmed the suspects’ arrests and said that Subbaiah had been dismissed from police service.
CPJ was unable to find contact information for the suspects’ lawyers, or any public statements by the suspects.
Previously, on June 13, reporter Sulabh Srivastava was found dead in Uttar Pradesh one day after filing a complaint with local police alleging that he had received threats in relation to his reporting on a criminal liquor-selling group, according to CPJ research.