Raman Kashyap, an Indian freelance journalist who contributed to the Madhya Pradesh-based news channel Sadhna Plus TV, was found dead on October 4, 2021, from injuries he sustained while covering a protest the previous day by local farmers that turned violent, according to multiple news reports.
Kashyap was covering a farmer’s protest in the city of Lakhimpur Kheri on October 3 that turned into violent clashes upon the arrival of Ajay Kumar Mishra, the minister of state for home affairs, whose car hit some of the protesting farmers, according to news reports and Mandeep Punia, a journalist with the news website Gaon Savera, who was familiar with the case and spoke to CPJ over the phone.
Kashyap’s family found his body at a local morgue on October 4, after he failed to return home, according to news website The Print. Eight people, including Kashyap, were killed in the violence, according to various news reports, which said that on October 9 police arrested Mishra’s son, Ashish Mishra, who allegedly drove the car, along with two other suspects.
According to Newslaudry, Kashyap’s family claimed they were pressured by police and Mishra’s supporters to say that the journalist was beaten to death by protesting farmers and did not die after being crushed by the official’s car. Kashyap’s father Ram Dulare Kashyap told Newslaundry, “My son was not beaten up. I saw the body.”
Kashyap’s brother Pawan told news website The Print that the journalist’s clothes were torn, and had injury marks on his body as a result of being dragged on the road.
Pawan told The Print the family had been told by “sources” that the journalist survived the initial impact from the car, but police did not provide proper medical treatment. Police denied that claim, saying they brought Kashyap to a local hospital, where he died, according to that report.
On November 8, the Uttar Pradesh government stated in the Indian Supreme Court that Kashyap and an unknown number of farmers were crushed by a car allegedly driven by Ashish Mishra, according to news reports.
The following day, Pawan Kashyap petitioned a district court in Lakhimpur Kheri to direct local police to initiate an investigation into 14 people, including Mishra and his son, regarding the journalist’s death, according to the Hindustan Times.
A court rejected Ashish Mishra’s bail application on November 16, and a special investigation team of the police is probing the killings, according to the Indian Express.
Pawan Kashyap told CPJ in a phone interview that he had filed a court action seeking a copy of the First Information Report—a police document issued at the opening of an investigation—regarding his brother’s death. A court was expected to rule on his request on December 1, he said.
Kashyap was also working as a school teacher and had been freelancing as a journalist for Sadhna News for the last year, according to The Print.
CPJ could not find contact information for Ashish Mishra or the other suspects in the case. In an interview with India Today, Ajay Kumar Mishra denied that his son had any connection to the violence and said that neither he nor his son were at the location where the clashes broke out.
Sanjiv Suman, superintendent of police in charge for Lakhimpur Kheri district, did not respond to an email from CPJ requesting comment.