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Why did they have to burn me, asked dying scribe

In one of the worst indictments of the Akhilesh Yadav government and the law and order situation in Uttar Pradesh, Jagendra Singh, the Shahjahanpur-based journalist who died on June 8, blamed one of the Ministers of the government for getting him burnt alive by local policemen.

In a dying declaration on video, shot before he breathed his last because of burns, he said, “Why did they have to burn me? If the Minister and his people had something against me, they could have hit me and beaten me, instead of pouring kerosene over me and burning me.”

In the video, a copy of which is with The Hindu, the journalist blamed Ram Murti Verma, Minister for Dairy Development, for his death.

Singh was set on fire allegedly by a group of policemen and goons allied with Mr. Verma on June 1. He battled for life for a week at a hospital in Lucknow before he died.

The Shahjahanpur journalist who wrote extensively against alleged cases of corruption and illegal mining by the Minister had received repeated threats to his life.

“Prakash Rai [police inspector] was there and along with him were present four-five police personnel. The police team, led by Prakash Rai, barged into the house and started assaulting me. They could have as well arrested me,” said Singh, while crying in pain.

Singh used to singlehandedly run Shahjahanpur Samachar, a page on Facebook which had a wide following in local circles. Most of the time, his reports were followed up by mainstream and local publications and TV channels, something which had allegedly angered the Minister.

The Shahjahanpur police had initially maintained that the journalist had committed suicide but after public outrage, registered a murder case against the Minister and the policemen.

“Ram Murti Verma can have me killed. At this time, politicians, thugs, and police, all are after me. Writing about the truth has gone against my life,” Singh, in his late forties, wrote on May 22 on his Facebook profile.

The dying declaration of Singh, claimed his two sons, Rahul and Raghvendra, only further proves the involvement of Mr. Verma, who as per indications coming from a meeting of the top brass of the Samajwadi Party, is expected to be dismissed.

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Printable version | Dec 2, 2021 8:33:32 PM | https://www.thehindu.com/news/national/other-states/why-did-they-have-to-burn-me-asked-dying-uttar-pradesh-scribe/article7310923.ece

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