This post has been self-published on Youth Ki Awaaz by Areeb Uddin. Just like them, anyone can publish on Youth Ki Awaaz.

The Murder Of Free Speech: 11 Indian Journalists Who Were Killed For Their Bold Work

More from Areeb Uddin

Journalism will kill you, but it will keep you alive while you’re at it.”

India has witnessed many crimes and atrocities against journalists who have their own voice. Since 1994 until today, the calendar reflects resistance which is filled inside the country against the truth. Let us take a look at attacks on journalists around the nation and how the murder of ‘democracy’ took place.

1. Bakshi Tirat Singh

Bakshi Tirath Singh was an Indian reporter who used to report for the “Hind Samachar” a Punjabi newspaper. His murder took place in Dhuri in 1992, the motive of which is yet to be confirmed. The case is still going on but the police was not able to fetch the information about the assassins.

2. Shivani Bhatnagar

This was an incident which shook the nation. In 1999, Shivani Bhatnagar who was working for the Indian Express was brutally murdered. The accused was a top-level officer of the Indian Police Service, Ravi Kant Sharma who had some relations with Shivani and was scared that she may expose him. Ravi Kant Sharma was convicted by the Delhi Trial Court for the charges in 2008. But in 2012, the Delhi High Court acquitted Ravi Kant Sharma, Sri Bhagwan Sharma and Satya Prakash citing lack of evidence on appeal. The conviction of Pradeep Sharma was upheld.

3. Thounaojam Brajamani Singh 

Thounaojam Brajamani was the editor of English daily Manipur News. It was reported that he died on the spot when two men shot him from point blank range after stopping his two-wheeler in the heart of the city. The police told the media that the motive was totally unknown but there were some facts which were remotely connected to the assassination. The victim was given death threats via phone calls, the family was threatened on 15th August. Brajamani was founder president of the Manipur State Journalists Association and convenor of the Journalist Front, Manipur.

4. Paritosh Pandey 

Pandey was a crime reporter for the Jansatta Express who was shot multiple times in his residence in Lucknow’s Gomti Nagar in April 2002. It was speculated that the murder might be related to a story he had worked on. Jyotiresh Pandey alias Anna Pandey, a city lawyer was initially arrested, but the case never drew to a clear conclusion, neither was a motive determined. The incident sparked a feeling of anger among journalists and many of them came onto the streets to protest against this brutal attack on the freedom of expression.

5. Yambem Meghajit Singh 

Yambem worked for the television company, Northeast Vision. He worked as a chief correspondent in-charge which provided footage for the channels which were there related to the local Imphal cable. Yambem was found dead, blindfolded with his hands tied – he had been beaten up with sticks and rods and eventually shot in the head. The murder took place at his own residence.   Some people also connected the murder with a side business which he was a part of, the dealing in semi-precious stones but the motive was still unknown. Competent authorities are still looking into the matter.

6. Indra Mohan Hakasam

Indra Mohan used to work for the Assam based paper Amar Assam, he was a phenomenal person. It has been reported that he was kidnapped from his home by some members of the United Liberation Front of Assam. Later, some reports claimed that Indra died because of terminal illness. The Committee to Protect Journalists writes:

“In November 2003, local newspapers had quoted rebel sources saying that Hakasam had been killed by the ULFA. The Journalists’ Union of Assam (JUA) organized a one-day sit-in strike on November 21, 2003, at the press club in the town of Guwahati, where Hakasam’s newspaper is published, to demand that the ULFA provide information about the journalist. The JUA also submitted a memorandum to the Assam Government and Goalpara District authorities urging them to help locate Hakasam and probe his disappearance. But, by February 2004, after the unofficial declaration of Hakasam’s death from “illnesses,” the movement came to an end. The ULFA is not known for kidnapping journalists, but they have been blamed for the deaths of at least one other journalist, according to local journalists and CPJ research: Parag Kumar Das, editor-in-chief of Asomiya Pratidin, the largest circulation daily in Assam, who was gunned down in Guwahati in 1996, allegedly by a splinter group of the ULFA.”

7. Vikas Ranjan

Ranjan, a correspondent for Hindi-language daily Hindustan, was shot in the town of Rosera in Samastipur district which is in northern Bihar, according to Alok Mohit. Three men on a bike fired bullets as he was on his way back home from the office.

As per the Committee to Protect Journalists:

A First Information Report said two unnamed people and two alleged conspirators, Hariom Lal and Vinod Deo, along with an alleged shooter named Pinku Kumar, were involved in the killing, reports said. A month later, police arrested Krishna Yadav, for allegedly being a hired killer. In 2009, Lal and Deo filed a petition before the Patna High Court seeking bail, in which they said there were only allegations that they had conspired to kill the journalist by paying a ‘supari’ (contract) to the alleged gunman, Kumar, reports said. In April 2010, the Patna High Court rejected their plea and ordered them into custody, according to reports

8. Rajesh Verma

Rajesh Verma worked for IBN7, and while he was covering the riots in Muzaffarnagar, he was shot by unknown assailants.

The clashes erupted following police dispersal of a meeting by Hindu farmers calling for justice in the killings of two Hindu men, according to The New York Times. The victims were believed to have been killed by Muslims, news reports said. Officials said the clashes were also fueled by a false video circulated last week that purportedly showed the two men being lynched. At least 28 people were killed and more than 90 individuals arrested in the violence.

In February 2016, a Special Investigation Team set up to look at cases related to the Muzaffarnagar riots filed a closure report in Verma’s case. The report, which was filed in the court of the Chief Judicial Magistrate Narendra Kumar, said that the accused remain unidentified.”

9. Gauri Lankesh

Gauri Lankesh was a fearless woman who had the courage to stand up against injustice. She was a critic of right-wing Hindutva politics, she had the opinion that it created a feeling of hatred as it never reflected the main idea of ‘Hinduism’. On 5 September 2017, three people attacked Gauri and shot her inside her house in Bangalore. The attack was largely condemned and the country was on a verge of revolution against the attacks on journalists. This murder was a death of freedom, a freedom to form an opinion.

Recently, some people were recognized with the involvement of Lankesh’s death. The statement which he stated was very sad, not because it reflected the idea behind the murder, but because it gave religion a platform to create hatred against each other;

I was told in May 2017 I had to kill someone to save my religion. I agreed. I didn’t know who the victim was. Now I feel that I should have not killed the woman,” a Times of India report quoted Parashuram Waghmore as telling the SIT.

10. Sandeep Sharma 

Sandeep Sharma was a reporter with News World. In 2017, he had conducted a sting on Sub Divisional Police Officer Indra Veer Singh Bhadouria and exposed the corruption in Madhya Pradesh police, and illegal sand mining. In March this year, the 35-year-old journalist was run over by a dumper. The incident was caught by a CCTV and the video went viral on social media.

A report by Scroll states:

“Soon after [the sting], Sharma wrote to senior police officials, saying he and his colleague Vikas Purohit, who had helped him conduct the sting, feared for their lives and demanded protection. The letter, stamped by the Bhind superintendent of police’s office on November 3, mentioned that copies of it had been sent to Prime Minister Narendra Modi and Chief Minister Shivraj Singh Chouhan.”

11. Shujaat Bukhari

This incident took place recently which shocked the state of Jammu and Kashmir. Shujaat was killed in daylight by two men who were riding a bike. This recent attack reflected how intolerant and insecure we have become that we cannot tolerate an opinion.
One of his friends expressed how this death will be a huge loss to this country and for those for whom he used to fight those battles:

“It is not an ordinary killing as Rising Kashmir Editor Shujaat Bukhari was not an ordinary man. A friend, a voice of reason and hope, a brilliant reporter, a great editor who moved out of the Hindu to start his own newspaper and made it a resounding success, a voice with resonance in both India and Pakistan, a popular man, intelligent, bright and never allowing the vagaries of the time to impact on his commitment to peace. Yes, that was Shujaat, a loving husband, a doting father and a man who never stopped looking on the future for Kashmir with optimism. For many of us in Delhi who worked with him, sat with him, often drove him crazy with our demands, his death is such a loss, it has created a void that cannot be filled. Simply because there is no second Shujaat.”

No Freedom Of Speech

These were only some of the 54 killings which took place between 1996 to 2018. The media plays an important role in guiding the people with competent news. It is a harsh reality that we are losing great journalists day by day in the time when we need more. Recently, Ravish Kumar was given death threats because he is a critic against the injustice. This reflects how we are developing as a democracy. The Constitution still gives us hope to fight this battle.

You must be to comment.
  1. Ramsha Ahmed

    Well written.
    Very Impressive?

More from Areeb Uddin

Similar Posts

By Priya Prakash

By Karun Lama

By nehamanu.yka

Wondering what to write about?

Here are some topics to get you started

Share your details to download the report.









We promise not to spam or send irrelevant information.

Share your details to download the report.









We promise not to spam or send irrelevant information.

An ambassador and trained facilitator under Eco Femme (a social enterprise working towards menstrual health in south India), Sanjina is also an active member of the MHM Collective- India and Menstrual Health Alliance- India. She has conducted Menstrual Health sessions in multiple government schools adopted by Rotary District 3240 as part of their WinS project in rural Bengal. She has also delivered training of trainers on SRHR, gender, sexuality and Menstruation for Tomorrow’s Foundation, Vikramshila Education Resource Society, Nirdhan trust and Micro Finance, Tollygunj Women In Need, Paint It Red in Kolkata.

Now as an MH Fellow with YKA, she’s expanding her impressive scope of work further by launching a campaign to facilitate the process of ensuring better menstrual health and SRH services for women residing in correctional homes in West Bengal. The campaign will entail an independent study to take stalk of the present conditions of MHM in correctional homes across the state and use its findings to build public support and political will to take the necessary action.

Saurabh has been associated with YKA as a user and has consistently been writing on the issue MHM and its intersectionality with other issues in the society. Now as an MHM Fellow with YKA, he’s launched the Right to Period campaign, which aims to ensure proper execution of MHM guidelines in Delhi’s schools.

The long-term aim of the campaign is to develop an open culture where menstruation is not treated as a taboo. The campaign also seeks to hold the schools accountable for their responsibilities as an important component in the implementation of MHM policies by making adequate sanitation infrastructure and knowledge of MHM available in school premises.

Read more about his campaign.

Harshita is a psychologist and works to support people with mental health issues, particularly adolescents who are survivors of violence. Associated with the Azadi Foundation in UP, Harshita became an MHM Fellow with YKA, with the aim of promoting better menstrual health.

Her campaign #MeriMarzi aims to promote menstrual health and wellness, hygiene and facilities for female sex workers in UP. She says, “Knowledge about natural body processes is a very basic human right. And for individuals whose occupation is providing sexual services, it becomes even more important.”

Meri Marzi aims to ensure sensitised, non-discriminatory health workers for the needs of female sex workers in the Suraksha Clinics under the UPSACS (Uttar Pradesh State AIDS Control Society) program by creating more dialogues and garnering public support for the cause of sex workers’ menstrual rights. The campaign will also ensure interventions with sex workers to clear misconceptions around overall hygiene management to ensure that results flow both ways.

Read more about her campaign.

MH Fellow Sabna comes with significant experience working with a range of development issues. A co-founder of Project Sakhi Saheli, which aims to combat period poverty and break menstrual taboos, Sabna has, in the past, worked on the issue of menstruation in urban slums of Delhi with women and adolescent girls. She and her team also released MenstraBook, with menstrastories and organised Menstra Tlk in the Delhi School of Social Work to create more conversations on menstruation.

With YKA MHM Fellow Vineet, Sabna launched Menstratalk, a campaign that aims to put an end to period poverty and smash menstrual taboos in society. As a start, the campaign aims to begin conversations on menstrual health with five hundred adolescents and youth in Delhi through offline platforms, and through this community mobilise support to create Period Friendly Institutions out of educational institutes in the city.

Read more about her campaign. 

A student from Delhi School of Social work, Vineet is a part of Project Sakhi Saheli, an initiative by the students of Delhi school of Social Work to create awareness on Menstrual Health and combat Period Poverty. Along with MHM Action Fellow Sabna, Vineet launched Menstratalk, a campaign that aims to put an end to period poverty and smash menstrual taboos in society.

As a start, the campaign aims to begin conversations on menstrual health with five hundred adolescents and youth in Delhi through offline platforms, and through this community mobilise support to create Period Friendly Institutions out of educational institutes in the city.

Find out more about the campaign here.

A native of Bhagalpur district – Bihar, Shalini Jha believes in equal rights for all genders and wants to work for a gender-equal and just society. In the past she’s had a year-long association as a community leader with Haiyya: Organise for Action’s Health Over Stigma campaign. She’s pursuing a Master’s in Literature with Ambedkar University, Delhi and as an MHM Fellow with YKA, recently launched ‘Project अल्हड़ (Alharh)’.

She says, “Bihar is ranked the lowest in India’s SDG Index 2019 for India. Hygienic and comfortable menstruation is a basic human right and sustainable development cannot be ensured if menstruators are deprived of their basic rights.” Project अल्हड़ (Alharh) aims to create a robust sensitised community in Bhagalpur to collectively spread awareness, break the taboo, debunk myths and initiate fearless conversations around menstruation. The campaign aims to reach at least 6000 adolescent girls from government and private schools in Baghalpur district in 2020.

Read more about the campaign here.

A psychologist and co-founder of a mental health NGO called Customize Cognition, Ritika forayed into the space of menstrual health and hygiene, sexual and reproductive healthcare and rights and gender equality as an MHM Fellow with YKA. She says, “The experience of working on MHM/SRHR and gender equality has been an enriching and eye-opening experience. I have learned what’s beneath the surface of the issue, be it awareness, lack of resources or disregard for trans men, who also menstruate.”

The Transmen-ses campaign aims to tackle the issue of silence and disregard for trans men’s menstruation needs, by mobilising gender sensitive health professionals and gender neutral restrooms in Lucknow.

Read more about the campaign here.

A Computer Science engineer by education, Nitisha started her career in the corporate sector, before realising she wanted to work in the development and social justice space. Since then, she has worked with Teach For India and Care India and is from the founding batch of Indian School of Development Management (ISDM), a one of its kind organisation creating leaders for the development sector through its experiential learning post graduate program.

As a Youth Ki Awaaz Menstrual Health Fellow, Nitisha has started Let’s Talk Period, a campaign to mobilise young people to switch to sustainable period products. She says, “80 lakh women in Delhi use non-biodegradable sanitary products, generate 3000 tonnes of menstrual waste, that takes 500-800 years to decompose; which in turn contributes to the health issues of all menstruators, increased burden of waste management on the city and harmful living environment for all citizens.

Let’s Talk Period aims to change this by

Find out more about her campaign here.

Share your details to download the report.









We promise not to spam or send irrelevant information.

A former Assistant Secretary with the Ministry of Women and Child Development in West Bengal for three months, Lakshmi Bhavya has been championing the cause of menstrual hygiene in her district. By associating herself with the Lalana Campaign, a holistic menstrual hygiene awareness campaign which is conducted by the Anahat NGO, Lakshmi has been slowly breaking taboos when it comes to periods and menstrual hygiene.

A Gender Rights Activist working with the tribal and marginalized communities in india, Srilekha is a PhD scholar working on understanding body and sexuality among tribal girls, to fill the gaps in research around indigenous women and their stories. Srilekha has worked extensively at the grassroots level with community based organisations, through several advocacy initiatives around Gender, Mental Health, Menstrual Hygiene and Sexual and Reproductive Health Rights (SRHR) for the indigenous in Jharkhand, over the last 6 years.

Srilekha has also contributed to sustainable livelihood projects and legal aid programs for survivors of sex trafficking. She has been conducting research based programs on maternal health, mental health, gender based violence, sex and sexuality. Her interest lies in conducting workshops for young people on life skills, feminism, gender and sexuality, trauma, resilience and interpersonal relationships.

A Guwahati-based college student pursuing her Masters in Tata Institute of Social Sciences, Bidisha started the #BleedwithDignity campaign on the technology platform Change.org, demanding that the Government of Assam install
biodegradable sanitary pad vending machines in all government schools across the state. Her petition on Change.org has already gathered support from over 90000 people and continues to grow.

Bidisha was selected in Change.org’s flagship program ‘She Creates Change’ having run successful online advocacy
campaigns, which were widely recognised. Through the #BleedwithDignity campaign; she organised and celebrated World Menstrual Hygiene Day, 2019 in Guwahati, Assam by hosting a wall mural by collaborating with local organisations. The initiative was widely covered by national and local media, and the mural was later inaugurated by the event’s chief guest Commissioner of Guwahati Municipal Corporation (GMC) Debeswar Malakar, IAS.

Sign up for the Youth Ki Awaaz Prime Ministerial Brief below