A journalist was chased and shot dead by three men in Uttar Pradesh's Ballia district last night allegedly over a property dispute, said police, adding that all the accused involved in the attack have been arrested.
Ratan Singh, a local journalist who contributed stories for a private news channel, was shot dead at around 9 PM on Monday near his home in eastern UP's Ballia, about 260 km from state capital Lucknow. He was 42 years old.
Mr Singh's father, however, has disputed the claim by police. "There was no property dispute. Please go to the spot and see for yourself. The police is spinning the story," Binod Singh told the journalists in a late-night statement.
Police said Mr Singh lived in a house in urban part of the district. His family had been involved in a property dispute with the accused over a house in his village for the last few years, officials said.
Last night, the 42-year-old had gone to his village over the matter when he was chased and shot dead. Mr Singh was trying to escape his attackers when he was caught in the gunfire.
All three men allegedly involved in the attack have been arrested.
"The accused had built a wall around the property. The accused had also placed a haystack on the land to stake claim, which was removed by the journalist. A fight broke out over the matter and the journalist was attacked. He died on the spot. Police have arrested three accused. Property dispute and old enmity are believed to be the reasons behind the attack," Subhash Dubey, Deputy Inspector General, Azamgarh Range, told reporters.
"I must state again the attack had nothing to do with the fact the man was a journalist," he added.
Chief Minister Yogi Adityanath has announced a compensation of Rs 10 lakh for the family of the journalist.
The Chief Minister "has expressed his deepest deepest condolences and also directed that all possible action be taken against the accused," his office said today in a statement.
Last month, another journalist was shot dead in front of his two daughters in UP's Ghaziabad, triggering an outpouring of shock across the state.
Vikram Joshi was travelling on a motorcycle with his two daughters when a group of men assaulted him and opened fire at him. Four days before the attack, he had complained to the police about his niece being harassed by a group of men.