Journalist Vikram Joshi, who was shot at near his residence in Ghaziabad on June 20, died at a hospital on Wednesday morning, reported ANI. Nine people have been arrested in the case so far after a CCTV camera captured the assault.
The doctor monitoring Joshi’s condition said the veins in the journalist’s head had been badly damaged due to the bullet injury. He was admitted to Ghaziabad’s Yashoda Hospital and was in a critical condition.
Meanwhile, the station in charge was suspended and a departmental investigation has been initiated after the journalist’s family accused the police of inaction.
Joshi was travelling on a motorcycle with his two daughters around 10.30 pm on Monday when a group of men attacked and then shot him. The attack took place in Vijay Nagar area of Uttar Pradesh’s Ghaziabad city. In the CCTV footage, Joshi can be seen riding a motorbike along with his daughters. Suddenly, the motorcycle swerves and a group of men surround it and start beating up the rider. Following this, the two-wheeler falls to the ground and the children flee.
The police suspect that the attack took place after Joshi complained to the police about his niece facing harassment on July 16. In the complaint, registered at the Vijay Nagar Police Station just before he was attacked, Joshi has named three people, Chhotu, Ravi and Akash Bihari, his family said. The FIR into the alleged harassment said that the three accused had threatened to murder the journalist. The three have been named in the FIR related to the attack on the journalist.
On Wednesday, Joshi’s nephew said that some people used to harass his sister. “It was her birthday when incident occurred,” he told ANI. “My uncle was coming home with her when Kamal-ud-Din’s son attacked him and shot him. We will not accept my uncle’s body till [the] main accused is caught.”
Chief Minister Adityanath announced compensation for the journalist’s family. “The chief minister has announced an ex gratia of Rs 10 lakh for the family of the deceased and a job for his wife,” Ghaziabad District Magistrate Ajay Shankar Pandey told ANI.
Congress leader Abhishek Manu Singhvi on Wednesday morning described the episode as shocking and tweeted: “Shocking jungle raaj in Ghaziabad area with journalist Joshi, already known as complainant in FIR [first information report], being shot on scooter while with his daughters, struggling in coma with bullet in skull! Thank God daughters not hit. Shocking, scary, disgusting lack of fear of law and order!”
The party’s spokesperson, Randeep Surjewala, also criticised the Uttar Pradesh government over the incident. “When the situation is like this in Ghaziabad which is adjacent to Delhi-NCR, then you can guess how ‘goondaraj’ and ‘jungle raj’ in Adityanath-led government in Uttar Pradesh are on their peak,” he said, according to Hindustan Times. “Is it a crime to be a journalist in states ruled by the BJP [Bharatiya Janata Party]? Are journalists now gangsters? Will the police not heed to calls by journalists like Vikram Joshi?”
Congress leader Priyanka Gandhi on Tuesday attacked the Adityanath-led Uttar Pradesh government, saying that the common man cannot feel safe in the state’s “jungle raj”.