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IFJ shocked at brutal murder of journalist, his family

(IFJ/IFEX) - February 21, 2012 - The International Federation of Journalists (IFJ) is shocked and horrified at the brutal murder of senior journalist Chandrika Rai, his wife and two young children, in Umaria district in the central Indian state of Madhya Pradesh.

Chandrika Rai, 43, a freelance journalist who was published frequently in newspapers in the state capital of Bhopal, was found dead at his home on the evening of Saturday, February 18. His 39-year old wife, 19-year old son and 17-year old daughter, were also found dead in different rooms of the house. All four bodies bore injuries inflicted by a sharp weapon.

Media reports from India suggest that Rai could have been targeted for revenge by elements involved in local coal mining activities. Rai had recently written articles exposing numerous illegalities in the coal trade in the region.

Other reports hint at a connection with the recent abduction of the son of a government official. Rai is believed to have expressed his scepticism over police claims that the boy was rescued without any ransom changing hands. This may have attracted the anger of an organised kidnapping racket in the area.

"The IFJ is deeply shocked and saddened at the brutality of this murder, and the loss of a brave journalist and his entire family", said the IFJ Asia-Pacific.

"Violence committed against journalists, whatever its motive, has a chilling effect on good investigative journalism carried out in the public interest.

"We call upon the authorities in the state of Madhya Pradesh to utilise all necessary resources and efforts to investigate this matter, and ensure that those responsible for this murder are brought to justice for their crimes".
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