Two days after a journalist of an Oriya TV channel was hacked to death by unidentified assailants, police officials investigating the case said they were looking at suspicious conduct of a few of his relatives.
Tarun Acharya, a 35-year-old journalist of Kanak TV, was on his way to home in Khallikote town of Ganjam district on May 27 night when assailants stopped his motorcycle and hacked him to death. The happened close to the Khallikote police station. Acharya died on the spot after suffering from injuries on his head and neck. He is survived by his wife, a 10-month-old daughter and old parents.
Although police initially suspected that he was murdered due to publication of some stories in Oriya daily Sambad, which also belongs to same media group that owns Kanak TV, the disappearance of a few relatives after the murder has fuelled suspicion of their involvement.
“We are not ruling anything out at this stage. We are also trying to find out if anyone was aggieved due to any of his news reports. We are interrogating one person who probably knows the killers. We have formed special squads and would get to the killers soon,” said Deputy Inspector General of Police (southern range) Amitabh Thakur.
“It is clear that the deceased knew the killers as he had stopped his bike. The killers attacked him from behind and so the deceased had no chance of confronting them.” In the FIR lodged after the murder, three relatives of the deceased have been named. Thakur said before the three were named in the FIR, they had switched off their cellphones and disappeared.
Family members of Acharya said less than a week before the murder, a few of the relatives were allegedly beaten up. They said Acharya’s role was suspected in that incident although he was not involved.
Journalists in the state, meanwhile, have demanded CBI probe into the incident and compensation of Rs 50 lakh to Acharya’s family. Odisha Union of Journalists in a statement said the murder showed that journalists were not safe in the state.
Condemning the attack, the state unit of the BJP on Thursday demanded immediate arrest of those involved in the crime and compensation to the bereaved family members. “The murderous assault on a journalist shows that there is no law and order in the state. This is an attempt to suppress the fourth pillar of democracy and truth. We demand that the government should immediately initiate stern action against the culprits,” said Sajjan Sharma, BJP spokesperson.