Geneva: Press Emblem Campaign (PEC), the global media safety and
rights body, mourns the demise of a promising Indian scribe in a
landmine blast, planted by left-wing rebels in Kalahandi locality of
Odisha province. A native of Mohangiri village under Madanpur Rampur
area, Rohit Kumar Biswal (40) stepped on the mine on 5 February 2022
and died on the spot.
Rohit used to work for an Oriya daily (Dharitri) and he went to report
about the posters of ultra-left extremists (belonging to outlawed
Communist Party of India-Maoist), which were put on trees near to
Karlakhunta bridge asking the people to boycott the forthcoming local
(Panchayat) elections scheduled for different phases in 16-24 February
Odisha government chief Naveen Patnaik expressed grief over Rohit’s
death and announced Indian rupees 1.3 million compensation to the
bereaved family. Asserting that there is no place of violence in
democracy, Patnaik assured that the government would take necessary
actions against the perpetrators under the law.
“We express profound grief over the demise of Rohit Kumar Biswal, who
died in the line of duty as a reporter. After 12 journo-casualties in
January, where Mexico was at the top with the murder of four scribes,
followed by Pakistan, Haiti, Kazakhstan, Myanmar, Honduras and
Philippines, India has added one more in the beginning of this year’s
second month,” said Blaise Lempen, PEC secretary-general
The bygone year witnessed the killing of 79 media employees by
assailants in 29 countries, where Afghanistan came out as the most
dangerous country for journalists with 12 casualties, followed by
Mexico (10 dead), Pakistan (7), India (6), the Philippines, Yemen (4
each), Democratic Republic of Congo (3), Myanmar, Bangladesh, Brazil,
Colombia, Kenya, Nigeria, Somalia, Azerbaijan, Ethiopia, Burkina-Faso,
Turkey (2 each), etc.
India earlier lost Buddhinath Avinash Jha (a journalist cum Right to
Information activist) from Bihar on 12 November, informed Nava
Thakuria, PEC’s India representative, adding that the populous country
earlier lost media workers namely Ashu Yadav, Sulabh Srivastava, Ch.
Keshav, Manish Kumar Singh and Raman Kashyap to assailants in 2021.
Moreover, Indian photojournalist Danish Siddiqui was killed in
Afghanistan by Taliban forces last year.