A journalist of a local television channel died on Thursday after being knocked down by a vehicle near his home in Assam’s Tinsukia district and his employers have alleged that he was killed for exposing corruption and illegal activities in his area. Condoling the death, Assam Chief Minister Sarbananda Sonowal, who holds the home portfolio, has ordered a CID inquiry into the incident, an official release said.
He directed the CID to investigate in detail the circumstances leading to the journalist’s death, the release said. Parag Bhuyan, a senior correspondent of ‘Pratidin Time’ at Kakopathar, was knocked down by a vehicle near his home on NH 15 on Wednesday night, police said.
He died in a Dibrugarh nursing home on Thursday morning where he was referred to by a local medical facility. The vehicle was identified by the CCTV footage and its driver, who had escaped, was arrested along with the handyman after the Assam police alerted its counterpart in Arunachal Pradesh, a police spokesman said.
The police are interrogating the duo and probe into the incident is on. The vehicle is owned by a woman in Arunachal Pradesh and is used by her son for carrying tea leaves, the police added.
The TV channel editor-in-chief Nitumoni Saikia issued a statement alleging that the initial approach of the police was reason for suspicion. “… We suspect that the journalist was murdered as he has been doing a series of reporting exposing illegalities and corruption around Kakopthar.” He had received threats for these reports, Saikia said. “We at the Pratidin Time suspect it as a planned murder and demand a detailed inquiry into the whole incident and give justice to the family of late Bhuyan and Pratidin Time”, Saikia added.
The 53-year old journalist was the younger brother of Asom Gana Parishad leader Jagadish Bhuyan and the vice-president of Tinsukia Press Club. Assam Pradesh Congress Committee president Ripun Bora also demanded an inquiry into the Bhuyan’s death. “We suspect foul play as the journalist was knocked down near his home and the driver of the vehicle fled from the spot”.
The Gauhati Press Club has demanded a high-level inquiry into the senior journalist’s death and urged the state director general of police to form a special investigative team to probe the case in a time bound manner.