It seems that the Yogi Government is craving the spotlight. Sand mafias have allegedly killed a media journalist in the Unnao district of Uttar Pradesh on the 19th June 2020. Reportedly the victim Shubham Tripathy was working as a correspondent with a Hindi Daily, Kampu Mail. He was gathering information about illegal sand mining in the district and had apprehended the threat to his life. However, his opponents had lodged a complaint against him with the District Magistrate.
Sinking in Quicksand
NHRC has taken suo moto cognizance of the media reports. In furtherance, it issued a notice to the Government of UP through its Chief Secretary and the DGP. It has called for a detailed report in the matter. The Commission also directed the State Government that an independent agency conduct an impartial inquiry into the matter. The Commission suggested that the State CB CID conducts the inquiry. They are also to ensure the safety of the family of the victim and the witnesses in the matter. Furthermore the authorities have to preserve the call details and other forensic evidences gathered during inquiry as the Commission might call them during consideration of the case. The Commission has demanded the response within 4 weeks.
The Commission observed that in many cases the media personnel have been the target of anti-social elements. However in most of the cases the police authorities turned a blind eye against the culprits. In a democracy, the media is considered its fourth pillar. It is the duty of the State to provide the media persons with a safe and secure environment. This is the least the State can do, as they work in the public interest, taking great risks to highlight the illegal activities prevailing in the society.
The death of Shubham Tripathy in this case is a matter of concern for the Commission and also an issue involving violation of human rights.The UP Government seems to be on a roll, since the NHRC had also issued a notice on June 22, 2020, highlighting their callous attitude in another human rights issue.