miscreants spreads, the condemnation pours on the Orissa government in central India. Orissa (now known as Odisha) thus records the first murder of a working journalist in India this year with the slaughtering of Tarun Kumar Acharya on May 27, 2014 last.Acharya, 35, who was based in Bikrampur of Ganjam district in Orissa, worked for a regional news channel named Kanak TV and he used to contribute regularly for Oriya daily newspaper Sambad. On the fateful night, he was targeted by the goons on his way to home riding his bike. Acharya died on the spot and his body was recovered by local villagers with severe injuries because of repeated stabbing with sharp weapons on his neck and head.According to the New York based Committee to Protect Journalists
(CPJ), altogether 15 Journalists had been killed this year across the
globe. The media rights body also pointed out that among those, four journalists namely Shan Dahar (Pakistan), Vyacheslav Veremiy (Ukraine), Pedro Palma (Brazil) and Gregorio Jiménez de la Cruz (Mexico) were murdered in 2014 with clear anti-journalism motives.Days back, Acharya prepared a series of stories relating to the local
cashew nut processing factories deploying children as workers.Moreover he was vocal against few powerful individuals in his
locality, which is around 120 km away from Bhubaneswar, who made social nuisances time and again.The media fraternity of Orissa has already demanded the police to nab the killers and urged the government to adequately compensate the victim family. Even after the victim family members named few suspects in FIR, the police remained reluctant to arrest anyone till the third day of the incident.After the local journalist fraternity in Orissa, the Journalists’
Forum Assam (JFA) also expressed shock at the brutal murder of
Acharya, who left behind his wife, a minor girl and old parents. The
JFA, in a statement issued by its president Rupam Barua and secretary Nava Thakuria, demanded the culprits to be booked under the law immediately and adequately compensate the family.The JFA urged the Orissa government led by Naveen Patnaik to take serious note of the incident and punish the perpetrators. Extending moral supports to the local journalists for its further course of actions in this regard, the JFA also appealed to the Orissa based civil society and advocacy groups to stand behind the bereaved family at this time of crisis.Meanwhile, National Union of Journalists (NUJ) has raised the demand for a Central Bureau of Investigation probe into the gruesome murder of a brave journalist. NUJ secretary general Prasanna Mohanty expressed dismay that the Orissa police were yet to nab the culprits.He finally asserted that Acharya’s murder has shown the insecurity the Orissa based working journalists are facing today.Voices of protest were also raised by various political parties of
Orissa. They unanimously called upon the government for stringent
actions against the culprits. A petition asking for a high level
inquiry into the incident and ample compensations to the bereaved
family has also been sent to the National Human Rights Commission. The petition, filed by a group of human rights defenders, also advocates for a special law to safeguard the working journalists on duty across the country.
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Nava Thakuria, who serves as a special correspondent for The Seoul Times, is based in Guwahati of Northeast India. He also contributes articles for many media outlets based in different parts of the glove, and can be contacted at email@example.com
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