MAC: Mines and Communities

India: Anti-Mining Mafia crusader is shot dead

Published by MAC on 2016-11-14
Source: Telegraph India, Daiji World

The Indian Journalists Association (IJA) condemns the murder

Dharmendra Singh, 45, a journalist who wrote a series of reports exposing the stone crushing "mafia" of Rohtas, was shot dead in November near the district headquarters of Sasaram, Bihar.

Amra locality on Old GT Road is considered a hub of illegal mining and stone quarrying in Rohtas district.

Journalist who wrote on Rohtas underworld gunned down

The Telegraph, India

13 November 2016

Dharmendra Singh, 45, a journalist with Hindi daily Dainik Bhaskar who wrote a series of reports on the mining mafia of Rohtas, was shot dead early this morning near the district headquarters of Sasaram.

He is the second senior scribe to be gunned down in the state in the past six months. In May, Siwan journalist Rajdev Ranjan was shot dead, allegedly at the behest of criminals loyal to jailed don Mohammed Shahabuddin. The CBI is investigating the case.

Dharmendra's father said he was killed for exposing the "police-illegal mining mafia nexus", but Rohtas superintendent of police (SP) Manavjeet Singh Dhillon created ripples when he issued a statement describing Dharmendra as a person with criminal antecedents. He did not substantiate the charge. Sources said Dhillon has been "pulled up" for levelling the allegation when the probe hasn't even begun.

Dharmendra was standing outside a tea stall at Amra Talab on Old Grand Trunk Road, around 160km south of Patna, when three youths riding a motorbike opened fire, peppering his chest with bullets. Residents rushed Dharmendra to Sasaram sadar hospital where he was given primary treatment and referred to Varanasi, some 120km away. He died on the way.

Dharmendra's differently abled father Awadhesh Singh, 70, said his son left home around 5am after receiving a call on his cellphone. About half-an hour later, the family received news from residents that he had been shot at.

The slain journalist's elder brother, Pappu Singh, 50, a farmer, suspected the involvement of the stone-quarrying mafia. "He used to write against illegal mining and invited the wrath of the stone quarrying mafia," Pappu said. Awadhesh said his son paid with his life for exposing the "police-mafia nexus".

The police did not immediately reveal what the motive could have been for Dharmendra's murder.

"The motive behind the murder is yet to be ascertained," Sasaram deputy superintendent of police Alok Ranjan said. The police have launched raids to nab the assailants. "The police will record the statement of family members later," Alok said.

Amra locality on Old GT Road is considered a hub of illegal mining and stone quarrying in Rohtas district. Dharmendra's home village of Amri is about 1km east of the Sasaram district headquarters.

Dharmendra, who was on the crime beat for his daily, is survived by his wife Rinku Singh and three children - Rishu Raj, 14, Priya Raj, 11, and Himanshu, 8. Residents said he was a good football player and had represented the state in the Bihar state football tournament in 2002. Apart from writing for the newspaper, he used to take part in football championships.

Narendra Singh, the Rohtas bureau chief of Dainik Bhaskar, said Dharmendra was assigned to look after mining and had filed a series of stories on illegal mining in rural areas of the district. Dharmendra had joined Dainik Bhaskar only four months ago when the newspaper opened its office in Sasaram. Before that he used to write for Prabhat Khabar, another Hindi daily.

Deputy inspector-general (Shahabad range) Mohammad Rahman said a special investigation team (SIT) has been set up to investigate the journalist's murder case. "Raids are on to nab the assailants," he told journalists.

The stone quarrying mafia is so strong, it had earlier managed to get then Rohtas SP Shivdeep Lande shunted. An Intelligence Bureau report said the illegal mining mafia was behind Lande's premature transfer.

Journalists' body condemns scribe's murder in Bihar

November 14, 2016

The Indian Journalists Association (IJA) on Sunday condemned the murder of a journalist in Bihar and appealed to Chief Minister Nitish Kumar to ensure that those responsible are brought to justice.

"The Indian Journalists' Association condemns the murder of journalist Dharmendra Singh, who became a victim at the hands of a stone-crusher mafia at Sasaram, the headquarters of Rohtas district in Bihar on Saturday," said IJA President Sekhar Sengupta.

"I appeal to the Bihar Chief Minister to ensure the criminals are nabbed and punished. If this is not done, I fear, crime will spread across the state borders," he said.

The Hindi daily Dainik Bhaskar's correspondent was shot dead outside a roadside tea shop in Sasaram. The victim's family said he was threatened by stone-mining mafia.


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