Chaterpatti, editor of the Hindi-language newspaper Poora Sach, died in a New Delhi hospital of injuries sustained in an assassination attempt made a month earlier.
On October 24, a gunman fired several shots at Chaterpatti, a journalist based in Sirsa, a town in the northern state of Haryana. Chaterpatti was taken to an area hospital but was later transferred to the Apollo Hospital in New Delhi.
Police arrested three suspects, including the alleged gunman and a leader of the Sirsa-based religious sect Dera Sacha Sauda, according to the Press Trust of India news agency. Officials said that Dera Sacha Sauda members are believed to have ordered Chaterpatti’s murder in reprisal for the journalist’s reporting on sexual abuse and other crimes allegedly committed at the group’s compound in Sirsa.
A delegation of journalists, including the president of the regional journalists’ group Haryana Patrakar Sangh and representatives of India’s National Union of Journalists, met with the director general of police in Haryana on the day of Chatterpatti’s death, November 21, to press authorities to bring the journalist’s killers to justice. The delegation also complained that several journalists in the area have received death threats for reporting on the activities of Dera Sacha Sauda.
On January 17, 2019, a special court in Haryana convicted Gurmeet Ram Rahim, Kuldeep Singh, Nirmal Singh, and Krishan Lal of Chaterpatti’s murder and of criminal conspiracy. The court sentenced them each to life imprisonment and a fine of 50,000 rupees (US$700).