Ratan Singh, 42, a freelance TV journalist, was shot dead in Uttar Pradesh’s Ballia district on August 24.
Amar Ujala reported that Ratan was murdered at Phephna village, where he had gone to check on his ancestral house. He lived with his family at Rasda Phephna Marg in Ballia town. As a journalist, he covered crime and local sociopolitical issues.
Devendra Nath, Ballia’s superintendent of police, claimed that Ratan was involved in a dispute over the ownership of the old house. “He was shot dead at the residence of the village head,” the SP said. “It’s being said they had some old dispute.”
However, in a video that has surfaced on Twitter, Ratan’s father disputes the police’s theory. “They are narrating a false story,” he says in the video.
While the police claim that Ratan was called to the house to clear away some straw or husk – the reason for the dispute – his father insists that “there was no husk nor straw. He was called on a false pretext”.
In the video, a boy can be seen showing the spot where the body was found to local reporters. The spot has a patch of grass but no signs of any husk or straw anywhere.
The family is demanding police protection, along with a government job for Ratan’s wife.
Ratan Singh covered crime and local sociopolitical issues.
In a press note released on Monday, the Ballia police claim that the journalist was hit by bamboo sticks, and subsequently shot. The police have arrested six of the 10 accused so far.
The press note mentions that Ratan was named in an FIR filed in connection with a brawl last December. His name, however, was subsequently dropped. Five of the accused named in that FIR are also named in the FIR regarding the journalist’s killing.
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