Indian journalist Jyotiranjan Mohapatra was treated for wounds to his head and arm after four men followed him home and attacked him with a sword in connection to his reporting on February 10, 2024. (Photos courtesy of Mohapatra)

Indian journalist Jyotiranjan Mohapatra attacked with sword in Bhubaneswar

New Delhi, February 23, 2024—The Committee to Protect Journalists on Friday called upon the authorities in the eastern Indian state of Odisha to prosecute those responsible for the assault on Jyotiranjan Mohapatra, a reporter with privately owned news broadcaster Bada Khabar TV.

At around 11 p.m. on February 10, four unidentified individuals on two motorcycles began following Mohapatra and his younger brother, who had visited him at the outlet, on their way to the journalist’s home in the VSS Nagar area of Bhubaneswar, the capital of Odisha state, according to Mohapatra, who spoke to CPJ, and multiple news reports.

The four men came closer and swung a sword at the journalist, according to those sources. When the journalist and his brother fell from his motorcycle, the assailants attacked the journalist, cutting his forehead and left arm before fleeing the scene.

Mohapatra told CPJ that while he was being attacked, the men said they knew he was a journalist and said, “You have been doing great journalism; now pay the price for it.”

The journalist reported the incident to the local police station and was admitted to Capital Hospital for medical treatment, according to those sources, which said he was released after three hours with five stitches to his head and arm. Authorities have initiated an investigation and arrested two suspects, but as of Friday, nobody has been charged.

“The assault on journalist Jyotiranjan Mohapatra underscores a troubling trend in India, where local reporters face increasing violence due to their work,” said Kunāl Majumder, CPJ’s India representative. “Authorities in Odisha must continue their investigation in a thorough and fair manner and ensure that the perpetrators are brought to justice.”

Mohapatra also told CPJ that when he worked as a crime reporter with the local daily Dharitri from 2017 to 2022, he often received verbal threats of violence for his reporting.

CPJ’s email to Bhubaneswar Police Commissioner Sanjeeb Panda requesting comment has not received a response.