Two Young Asian Scribes Killed; PEC Condoles their Demise

NEW DELHI: Geneva-based Press Emblem Campaign (PEC), the global media safety and rights body, condoles the sad demise of two young journalists in India and Afghanistan within 24 hours and urges the concerned authorities to probe the developments that led to their untimely deaths, and subsequently to book the perpetrators to justice.

It may be mentioned that a 22 years old journalist cum Right to Information (RTI) activist named Buddhinath Jha (also known as Avinash Jha) was found dead in Madhubani district of Bihar in eastern India. Buddhinath used to report on many fake medical clinics operating in his locality and some of those were also closed by the authority.

Suddenly he went missing four days back and later his charred body was found by a roadside on 12 November. The Benipatti-based family claimed that Buddhinath was offered a lot of money (as bribes) by some illegal healthcare clinic owners, but he did not respond to them. Later he received a number of threatening calls from unknown persons.

“It is frustrating that a young scribe has to lose his life for exposing the fake clinics, which are otherwise killing innocent people with incompetent medical interventions. It seems, those criminals are more organized to offer bribes as well as threats. The Bihar State government must ensure an authentic probe into his death and punish the culprits,” said Blaise Lempen, secretary-general of PEC.

Meanwhile, an Afghan television news presenter named Hamid Saighani was killed in an explosion that rocked Kabul city on 13 November. The young scribe used to work for Khurahid and Aryana News. Hamid’s wife, also a journalist, Fawzia Wahdat confirmed the heart-breaking news. He is the 12th journalist (including Indian photojournalist Danish Siddiqui) to be killed in the war-torn Afghanistan since the beginning of 2021.

Prior to Buddhinath, India lost five journalists namely Ashu Yadav, Sulabh Srivastava, Ch. Keshav, Manish Kumar Singh and Raman Kashyap to assailants this year, said PEC’s south Asia representative Nava Thakuria adding that India’s two neighbours Pakistan and Bangladesh reported seven and two casualties of media workers respectively, where Bhutan, Nepal, Maldives, Sri Lanka, Myanmar have not reported any incident of journo-murder.