Uttar Pradesh: Journalist dies a day after flagging mafia threat; cops call it ‘accident’
However, the police said that the journalist died in a "motorcycle accident."
A television journalist from Uttar Pradesh's Pratapgarh area perished in a "motorcycle accident" on Sunday night, according to authorities. Sulabh Shrivastava, who worked for ABP News and its regional affiliate, ABP Ganga, wrote to senior police officials the day before he died, stating he felt endangered because of his recent reporting on the district's liquor mafias.
Seeking protection, Srivastava had said he had been informed by sources that the liquor mafia was angry with him after the publication of his report and wanted to harm him or his family.
However, the police said that the journalist died in a “motorcycle accident.”
"Mr Shrivastava was returning on his motorcycle after media coverage, at around 11 pm at night on Sunday. He fell from his motorcycle near a brick kiln. Some labourers lifted him from the road and then used his phone to call his friends, and they called an ambulance too. He was taken to the district hospital where the doctors declared him dead," Surendra Dwivedi, a senior police official in Pratapgarh, said in a statement.
"Initial investigations have revealed he was alone on his bike and fell after his bike collided with a handpump by the road. We are investigating other angles too," Dwivedi said in the statement.
A photograph of the body - taken at the scene of the "accident" – shows the journalist is seen lying on the ground with what appear to be facial injuries in a photograph shot at the scene of the "accident." His shirt appears to have been almost completely removed, and his trousers have been unbuttoned and dragged down.
The letter Shrivastava reportedly wrote to the police - telling them he feared for his life - has now surfaced on social media and been tweeted by senior journalists from his former channel.
"A report of mine against the liquor mafia in the district had run on the news portal run by my channel on June 9. Since then there has been a lot of buzz about this report. When I leave my home I feel as if someone is following me... I have heard through my sources the liquor mafia is unhappy with my reporting and can harm me. My family is also very worried," Mr Shrivastava had said in that letter.
Meanwhile, Congress leader Priyanka Gandhi Vadra hit out at Chief Minister Yogi Adityanath’s government saying that “the liquor mafia has killed from Aligarh to Pratapgarh but the UP government is silent (sic)”. She asked in a tweet, “Does the UP government, which nurtures ‘jungle raj’, have any answer to the tears of the family members of journalist Sulabh Srivastava?”
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