Journalist Burned Alive For Questioning Minister's Ill-Gotten Gains

Zohaib Ahmed
Jagendra Singh died a painful death for speaking up against a powerful politician.

Jagendra Singh

India doesn't normally rank high in lists of countries where free press and the lives of journalists are under threat, but judging by this latest incident, it should.

This shocking bit of news is from Shahjahanpur, Uttar Pradesh, where a journalist was allegedly set on fire by a police officer at the behest of a local politician who was apparently upset by a scathing Facebook made by the deceased.

Jagendra Singh drew the ire of Samajwadi Party MLA Rammurti Verma when he questioned the legality of his business ventures as well as the source of his growing wealth.

As per India Times, Singh's allegations included question about where state minister Ram Murti acquired property worth crores; if there was encroachment on a local "nala;" and if the minister was involved in developing illegal colonies around the city.

*** ??????????? ????????? ?? ??? ???? ?? ?? ????? ?? ??????? ***--- ???? ??? ?? ????? ???? ????? ??????? ?? ???? ??? ??...

Posted by Shahjahanpur Samachar on Saturday, May 30, 2015

The victim's loved ones claim that soon after that Facebook post went live, Verma directed his police force to arrest Singh.

"The inspector and others barged into the room and poured petrol on him and set him ablaze," Singh's widow told Times Now. "They were CM's henchmen. Minister Rammurti Verma is also involved." 

As expected, the police disagree with the victim's family's account and claim that it is a case of self-immolation. According to their version, they did go to Singh's home but he torched himself.

The question is why the police deemed it appropriate to arrest a journalist when his only crime was to raise voice against a politician's alleged illicit gains on social media.