Unnao-based journalist Shubham Mani Tripathi, who was killed in Uttar Pradesh had mentioned the 'land mafia' in a Facebook post a few days before the murder. It is being said that he had faced some trouble with them.
According to police, on 19 June, Tripathi was shot near Unnao’s milk market when he was returning home with his friend on a motorcycle. After this, he was rushed to the hospital, where he died. The Press Council of India (PCI) on Friday, 26 June, strongly condemned the incident and sought a report from the state government.
The National Human Rights Commission (NHRC) has also issued notices to the government of Uttar Pradesh and the director-general of police of the state on the matter.
The commission has issued a statement saying, "In the democratic system of government, media is considered as the fourth pillar, which cannot be allowed to fall prey to anti-social elements in such a ruthless manner."
The statement also said," The state government has also been asked to conduct an investigation into the subject by an independent agency.”
Tripath Had Recently Expressed Concerns Over Attempts to Murder Him
Shubham Tripathi used to work for the Hindi daily Kampu Mail based out of Kanpur. Tripathi was also very active on social media.
On 14 June, he wrote in one of his Facebook posts, "I went to cover a story on the land of the famous land mafia just a few days ago. Illegal construction was being demolished by the administration. In anger, the land mafia has sent a fake application through someone against me to the District Magistrate. Many thanks to the land mafia.''
Recently, the police issued a press release and said that three people have been arrested in this case. According to The Wire, one of the arrested persons told the police that “a local real estate businessman Divya Awasthi conspired to kill Tripathi in response to his report and Facebook post.”
"Recently, he (Shubham) had some dispute with the land mafia, he feared that he might be murdered," Bureau Chief of Kampu Mail Ritesh Shukla told Newsclick. Divya Awasthi, a woman who is associated with land business and is politically active, is said to be involved in this murder.''
According to The Wire, Vishal Maurya, a journalist from Unnao, told the Committee to Protect Journalist (CPJ) that Tripathi had earlier told the police that his life was in danger.
He said that on 15 June, Tripathi had informed the authorities about the threat by writing a letter.
Apart from this, he said that in the complaint made to the police, the names of the 10 suspects were mentioned by Tripathi's brother, the same names mentioned by Tripathi himself.
Relatives of Shubham, while accusing Divya Awasthi, told Newsclick, “Divya Awasthi wanted to occupy some government land. He (Shubham) disclosed the case which is why Divya could not occupy the land.‘’
The relatives alleged that "this is the reason Awasthi's goons killed Shubham.”
On this matter, the NHRC has said, "The details of call records and other forensic evidence collected during the investigation should be preserved as the commission may seek them while the case is being considered. In this case, an answer is expected within four weeks. ''
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