Subhash Kumar Mahto, a reporter with the cable station City News, was fatally shot outside his home in the village of Sakho, in the Indian state of Bihar’s Begusarai district, on May 20, 2022, according to news reports and Saurabh Kumar, general secretary of the Begusarai District Journalists Association, who spoke to CPJ by phone.
Mahto was returning from a wedding dinner with his family members at around 8:45 p.m. when he was shot in the head by four men, who then fled the scene, those reports said.
Mahto frequently posted his reporting to Public App, a smartphone-based video app, where he had over 1,300 followers. His last post, about threats received by local government officials, was viewed over 29,000 times, according to a review of his page by CPJ.
Police arrested suspects identified as Babloo Rathore, Mitesh Kumar, Roshan Kumar, and Priyangshu Kumar, Kumar told CPJ. He said police alleged that Mahto had intervened to stop Mitesh Kumar from teasing a girl at a wedding, which prompted a fight between the men that led to Mahto’s killing. CPJ was unable to find contact information or public statements by the four suspects.
Kumar added that Mitesh Kumar had previously threatened Mahto over his reporting on local alcohol smuggling groups, and he had filed complaints about that reporting with the police.
In 2018, Mahto was arrested for “false news” after he reported on an incident related to unlawful liquor manufacturing, according to Kumar and The Wire. Manufacturing and consuming alcohol is illegal in Bihar under state law.
Begsarai superintendent of police Yogesh Kumar did not respond to CPJ’s phone calls requesting comment.