Prahlad Goala

Beats Covered:
Local or Foreign:

Goala was murdered near his home in Golaghat district in India’s northeastern state of Assam after writing a series of articles on corruption in the Assamese-language daily Asomiya Khabar that linked local forestry service officials to timber smuggling.

Local journalists told CPJ that police arrested forest warden Zamman Jinnah in connection with the death. He was released on bail. Two other suspects, who were not forestry service employees, were also taken into custody, the journalists said.

Jinnah had made death threats against Goala soon after his articles on corruption in the forestry service appeared, The Assam Tribune reported.

Goala, 32, was riding a motorcycle near his home some 160 miles (260 kilometers) east of the state capital, Guwahati, when he was apparently rammed by a truck. When police arrived at the scene, they found that Goala had been stabbed several times.

Local journalist organizations and civic groups staged a protest in Golaghat on January 10 and called for a full investigation into the killing.

After Goala’s widow filed a First Information Report, police arrested an officer in the Forest Department named K. Zaman Jinnah, reports said. Police said the forest officer was suspected of hiring professional killers to murder Goala . Golaghat Superintendent of Police Madan Chetia said they were investigating, according to a 2006 report published in The Hoot. CPJ was unable to determine if the officer denied the charges against him.

Jinnah allegedly threatened Prahlad for his exposé on Jinnah’s alleged misuse of power, according to Rohit Gogoi, the general secretary of Golaghat District Journalists Association, The Hoot reported.