Panthi, a correspondent for the pro-Maoist newspaper Naya Satta, was found fatally injured at around 1:30 a.m. alongside the Mahendra Highway in Sunwal village, in the southern district of Nawalparasi, according to local news reports.
Local residents said his bruised body was found in front of a petrol pump and that he appeared to have suffered head injuries, according to the Kantipur Online news site. Police said that Panthi's bicycle was hit by another vehicle in a road accident and that the journalist died while being taken to the hospital, according to reports.
Local residents staged demonstrations blocking a stretch of the busy highway for two days, demanding action against those responsible for Panthi's death and compensation for his family members.
Panthi was reporting on the destruction of a Young Communist League office on the night he was killed, according to Keshav Parajuli, president of the Nawalparasi chapter of the Federation of Nepalese Journalists. Panthi was also an "active Maoist cadre," according to Kantipur Online.