ANI | Bhind (Madhya Pradesh) [India]
NEW DELHI: In the wake of a death of a journalist investigating illegal sand mining cases in Bhind district of Madhya Pradesh, the state’s chief minister, Shivraj Singh Chouhan, on Monday said security of journalists was the government’s priority and strict action would be taken against the culprit.
Sandeep Sharma, a 35-year-old scribe, was run over by a speeding dumper truck under mysterious circumstances on Monday morning. The police have formed an SIT team to probe the death.
Congress leader Jyotiraditya Scindia also reacted strongly. “He was killed in broad daylight. Nothing less than a CBI inquiry should be done. Media is the fourth pillar of democracy and that is being crushed under BJP’s rule.”
Sharma was working with a national news channel and had filed a complaint with the police citing immediate threat to his life from a police officer after a ‘sting operation’ against the latter.
The journalist had been investigating the nexus between the sand mining mafia and the police and had filed a story accusing the police officer of being hand in glove with the sand mafia. An audio conversation of the officer in question was aired by his channel after which the officer was transferred, sources said.
The incident took place a few meters away from the Kotwali police station at 8.55am when Sharma who was riding his two-wheeler was hit by the dumper from behind killing him on the spot. Police cordoned off the area and efforts were on to arrest the dumper driver. CCTV footage of the area was also being scanned.
It is alleged that the police took some time to respond to the incident. According to reports, they arrived at the scene after 15 to 20 minutes althoughthe spot was just a few meters from the police station.
Sharma’s death, meanwhile, triggered panic among other journalists in the region. Bhind Press Club president Sathyanarayan Sharma said Sharma’s death was highly suspicious and should be probed thoroughly.
“He was a brave journalist and had filed stories against mining mafias. He was facing threat from a police officer whom he had exposed a few months ago and had submitted a complaint to the SP citing threat to his life. Fact that the dumper was empty also give rise to suspicion,” the press club president said.
Sharma is survived by his wife and two children aged 14 and 15 years.
Earlier, two journalists were killed in Bihar on Saturday night. They were run over by a village council head and his men in Bhojpur, around 80 km from Patna. Navin Nishchal, who worked for Dainik Bhaskar, and his colleague Vijay Singh were on a bike when they were hit by a car.