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Journalist gunned down in Chhattisgarh

(IPI/IFEX) - 26 January 2011 - Two masked gunmen shot and killed Umesh Rajput, reporter with Hindi daily Nai Duniya, outside his home near Raipur, in Chhattisgarh, Sunday night. Although rushed to a nearby hospital, he was declared dead upon arrival.

The two assailants fled the scene on a motorcycle.

A note written in red ink was found near the crime scene stating: "If you don't stop publishing news, you will die."

Police are interrogating a female health worker who had apparently threatened to kill Rajput two weeks before his death. He had recently published an article about a man developing an eye infection after an operation.

In the second such killing in the state of Chhattisgarh in just over one month, it has become evident that the government of this district needs to provide greater protection for journalists.

IPI Acting Director Alison Bethel McKenzie stated: "It is essential that the Indian government take measures to eradicate impunity and end violence against journalists in the country. We urge the government to condemn Rajput's murder and hope for a prompt and thorough investigation."

On the night of 20 December 2010, unidentified gunmen murdered reporter Sushil Pathak of Dainik Bhaskar, in Bilaspur district. The police have yet to make any arrests.

IPI Acting Director Bethel McKenzie offers her sincerest condolences on IPI's behalf to the family, friends and colleagues of Umesh Rajput.
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