New Delhi, Feb 20: The Editors Guild of India on Monday has demanded that Madhya Pradesh Chief Minister Shivraj Singh Chauhan order a high-level probe into the murder of a senior journalist and his entire family in Umaria district and "unravel" the conspiracy behind the killings.
Journalist Chandrika Rai (42), who worked as a freelancer for Hindi daily Navbharat and English newspaper the Hitavada, his wife Durga Rai (40), their son Jalaj (19) and daughter Nisha (17) were found lying in a pool of blood in their house on Saturday.
"We owe it to the memory of this courageous journalist to ensure that the guilty are arrested speedily. The state government must demonstrate its sincerity by working tirelessly to unravel the conspiracy behind the murder," the Guild said in a letter to Chauhan.
Lauding the work of Rai, the Guild said he had recently written a series of hard-hitting articles against illegal coal mining activity in the region and the alleged involvement of a local political leader in such "clandestine activity".
Expressing shock at the "brutal murder" of Rai and his family, the India chapter of South Asia Media Commission called upon Information and Broadcasting Ministry to address the issues related to protection to journalists, in collaboration with Home Ministry.
"The only fault of Mr Rai was that he exposed the illegal activities of the coal mining mafia in the state -- in a series of articles carried by two influential papers of the region. He thus paid a very heavy price for discharging his professional duties," K K Katyal, president of SAMC, India Chapter, said in a statement.
Noting that the "nexus between mafias, sections of politicians and officials" in various parts of the country was "no secret", the SAMC said despite assurances by Centre and state governments to provide security to journalists, they continued to be targeted by all types of "shady elements". The Madhya Pradesh government today announced an STF-level probe into the incident.