Unknown assailants shot Naveen Gupta, a journalist who worked as a stringer for the Hindi-language daily Hindustan, in Bilhaur, a town in Uttar Pradesh, on November 30, 2017, according to the journalist’s brother, Nitin, who witnessed the attack.
Nitin Gupta told CPJ that two men called out to the journalist as he parked around 6 p.m. inside a complex where Nitin Gupta has a garment store. After talking with the men, Naveen Gupta walked away. Four other men standing a short distance away then shot at the journalist, his brother said.
"They were talking and, at one point, Naveen handed his phone to one of [the two men]. He then went to relieve himself and that’s when about four other people shot him from across the railway line nearby," Nitin Gupta told CPJ. "The two people he spoke to before just stood there and didn’t react at all. Once Naveen was lying on the ground, one of them walked up to confirm whether he had died. He left with his companion immediately afterwards."
Naveen Gupta was shot in the head, face, and chest and died on his way to the hospital, Nitin Gupta said.
Gupta had been working as a stringer for the Hindustan for the past decade, providing details on local issues such as damaged roads and utility supplies, according to Rishi Shukla, a copy editor for the paper. Gupta wrote for other newspapers including the Hindi-language Swatantra Bharat and Dainik Jagran, and ran a distribution agency for the Hindustan at the time of his death, his brother told CPJ.
Nitin Gupta told CPJ that his brother wrote about multiple issues. He said that he was not aware of his brother receiving any threats in relation to his journalism.
A report on the Hindi-language news website Lallantop said that Naveen Gupta wrote frequently on illegal mining along the Ganga river.
Shukla, who works for the Hindustan in Kanpur, told CPJ that Gupta did not report on illegal mining and he said he thought it was unlikely that Gupta was killed because of his journalism. "He wrote about local civic issues and didn’t do the kind of journalism that would get him into trouble," he said.
J.P. Singh, superintendent of Kanpur police, under whose jurisdiction Bilhaur falls, told CPJ on December 5, 2017, “We haven’t established what the motive of the murder is. The matter is still under investigation, and we can’t disclose any further details.”