Amid the outrage over the killing of journalist Rajdeo Ranjan in Bihar, his family today demanded a CBI probe into the incident as BJP took to streets across the state in support, holding protest marches.
Three persons, including Upendra Singh, a history sheeter allegedly linked to RJD strongman and former Lok Sabha MP from Siwan Mohammed Shahabuddin have been detained in connection with the incident but no arrests have been made so far.
Chief Minister Nitish Kumar, who was in Lucknow, has expressed “sadness” and said the “guilty will not be spared”.
The slain journalist’s family, including his wife and father, have demanded CBI investigation, saying they have no faith in the local police.
“There is indeed a political angle to my husband’s murder two days ago as he did not have personal enmity with anyone. But there could also be professional reasons,” Ranjan’s wife Asha Devi said, and demanded a CBI probe. She sought death sentence to the culprits and vowed to fight till her last breath for justice. Ranjan’s 75-year-old father Radha Chaudhary and brother Gautam echoed her demand.
“The state government should bear cost of education and related needs of 16-year-old Ashish Ranjan and his eight year-old sister Sakshi Ranjan as their father will no more be with them to secure their future,” Gautam Ranjan told PTI.
BJP, meanwhile, staged protest demonstrations across the state with its Bihar unit chief Mangal Pandey staging a dharna in Siwan to demand the arrest of culprits and a CBI probe.
The journalist’s family alleged that he was murdered by incarcerated RJD leader Shahabuddin’s men and Bihar Police lacked the will to conduct a free, fair and impartial probe in the matter, Pandey told reporters in Siwan.
Under the circumstances, the murder case should be handed over to CBI, he said and demanded security to Ranjan’s family besides a compensation of Rs 25 lakh to his kin.
Police sources said three people, including Upendra Singh, the main accused in the killing of Shrikant Bharti, the spokesman for sitting BJP MP from Siwan, Om Prakash Yadav, who has a running feud with Shahabuddin, have been detained but not yet arrested. Bharti was gunned down in November 2014.
“Whatever is happening in Bihar has saddened me. I assure the people of the state that whoever is guilty will not be spared,” Kumar told reporters in Lucknow.
Representatives of several unions of journalists met Kumar and handed over memoranda seeking action against the perpetrators, compensation and a government job to the kin of Ranjan.
With the incident acquiring political overtones, former Deputy Chief Minister Sushil Kumar Modi hit out at Nitish Kumar for visiting Uttar Pradesh when the state was “gripped by violence”. He was referring to the murder of a teenager Aditya Sachdeva, allegedly by the son of a ruling JD(U) MLC, and Ranjan.
“It is regrettable that neither the Chief Minister nor his ministers have time to visit the families of the slain teeanger in Gaya and that of a journalist in Siwan district,” he said in a statement deprecating Kumar’s visit to Varanasi and Lucknow.
Referring to Ranjan’s killing, Modi said fingers were being pointed at jailed former MP Shahabuddin amid reports that a hit list released from Siwan jail containing the names of 23 people included the slain journalist.
Ranjan, the Siwan Bureau Chief of Hindi daily Hindustan, was said to have been instrumental in the release of a video in which RJD Minister Abdul Ghafoor and another party leader were seen meeting Shahabuddin in jail. He was gunned down at a fruit market on Station Road in Siwan on May 13. RJD had recently nominated Shahabuddin to its national executive despite his prolonged incarceration in a string of criminal cases.