Rohit Biswal

Beats Covered:
Local or Foreign:

On February 5, 2022, Rohit Biswal, a reporter with the local Odia-language newspaper Dharitri, was reporting from the Kalahandi district, in the eastern state of Odisha, when an improvised explosive device detonated, killing him at the scene, according to multiple news reports.

Biswal was photographing posters put up by Maoist rebels asking residents to boycott local elections when he was killed, according to those sources.

Kalahandi Police Superintendent Vivek M. Saravana was quoted in those reports saying that authorities believed the bomb was planted by Maoist rebels to target police officers, but Biswal had arrived at that location before the police.

Saravana was quoted as saying that Maoist groups “sometimes” rig explosive devices near their posters, and that authorities do not take such posters down until they have been inspected by bomb squads.

CPJ emailed Saravana for comment, but did not receive any response. CPJ was unable to find contact information for the KKBN Division of CPI(Maoist), the group identified in the news reports as suspected to be behind the attack. Dharitri editor Tathagata Satpathy did not respond to a text message from CPJ seeking comment.