Newspaper journalist murdered in Gujarat

kishore-daveJournalist Kishore Dave, Junagadh bureau chief of the regional daily Jai Hind was found dead in his office on August 22. Police said he had been stabbed repeatedly in the chest at around 9 p.m. Reports said his news assistant informed police of the attack.

Dave’s family said Dave’s coverage of sexual harassment allegations involving a local politician, Ratilal Suraj, may have motivated the attack. Suraj who has ties to the BJP denied the family’s accusations, including allegations that his son was the perpetrator of the attack. A police official said in local reports that ‘personal enmity’ may have motivated the attack.

On Wednesday police arrested 3 suspects – Firoz Kasambhai Hala, Sanjay Rama Rathod, and Arif Alam Saiyed for alleged involvement in Dave’s murder. A police inspector said Dave was involved in a transport business with the accused and he was murdered in a dispute over money.

Police told reporters the 3 suspects were apprehended based on CCTV footage that showed them riding motorcycles near Dave’s office around the time of the murder. There were no surveillance cameras in Dave’s office.

One senior police officer reported that the 3 had confessed to the crime and that they had burnt Dave’s blood-soaked clothes. Police had also recovered pieces of Dave’s broken mobile phone from the accused. The Committee to Project Journalists (CPJ was unable to confirm that the suspects had confessed to the crime.

CPJ’s senior Southeast Asia Representative Shawn Crispin said while they are encouraged by the swift arrests of the suspects in Dave’s murder, they encourage police to consider his journalistic work as a possible motive, and reminded authorities that justice will not be served until all those involved are convicted.

Few of those who attack or kill journalists in India are brought to justice, according to CJP research. Of the 11 murders of journalists CPJ has confirmed as work-related in the last decade in India, all have been carried out with complete impunity.