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IFJ calls for full inquiry into death of investigative journalist

(IFJ/IFEX) - October 6, 2011 - The International Federation of Journalists (IFJ) expresses its shock and sorrow at the death of Ramesh Singla, a freelance investigative journalist who reported on illegal mining in districts neighbouring the Indian national capital of Delhi.

According to reports in the Indian media, Singla, a resident of Mewat district in the state of Haryana, bordering Delhi, was killed on the afternoon of October 4, when the motorcycle he was riding was hit by a heavy vehicle on one of the main arterial roads in the district. The vehicle that caused the accident then reportedly fled the scene.

Singla, 48, had published a number of articles about illegal mining in Mewat and the neighbouring district of Gurgaon in the top selling Hindi-language daily Dainik Jagran in the days before his death.

Inquiries with police in Mewat reveal that they are inclined to treat the death as accidental. The Delhi Union of Journalists (DUJ) though, has asked for more details to be revealed about the circumstances in which the death occurred.

"The IFJ calls upon police to investigate Singla's death with appropriate thoroughness and establish whether it had any connection to his professional work," IFJ Asia-Pacific Director Jacqueline Park said.

The IFJ is aware that the mining industry in the region that Singla worked in has often been accused of illegalities and environmental destruction. Journalists who have reported on this have often faced intimidation and harassment in the past.

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