A 37-year-old journalist and his friend died last week after they were set on fire with sanitizer by three men in Balrampur district of Uttar Pradesh. The three attackers, identified as Lalit Mishra, Keshvanand Mishra alias Rinku Mishra and Akram Ali were arrested after three days of the incident. One of the three accused Rinku Mishra is the son of a village Pradhan.
On Friday, journalist Rakesh Singh Nirbhik who used to work for a Lucknow-based newspaper Rashtriya Swaroop, along with his friend Pintu Sahu, 34 were found with severe burn injuries inside Nirbhik’s house in a village in Balrampur. While Sahu was already dead, Nirbhik was taken to the hospital in Lucknow where he succumbed to his injuries a few hours later.
Before dying, Nirbhik had told hospital officials that he had been writing regularly against the local village gram pradhan and her son over alleged corruption. He had recorded a 2.5 minute video in which while crying in pain, he can be heard saying this is the price for reporting the truth.
Dev Ranjan Verma, the Balrampur police chief, in a press conference on Monday told reporters that the attackers doused the victims in a hand sanitizer before setting them on fire. They tried to cover up the crime by making it look like an accident, but the loopholes made us understand this was a conspiracy.
The Balrampur police chief said there were two motives for the murders, one was Nirbhik’s journalism and the other was a property dispute between Pintu Sahu and Rinku Mishra. On November 27, both had an argument outside a beer bar and there was a fight. More people will be questioned and further arrests will be made if required, he added.