A journalist in Assam’s Tinsukia district died on Thursday after he was hit by a car near his home in Kakopathar, Pratidin Time reported. Parag Bhuyan’s colleagues, however, alleged that he was murdered. Chief Minister Sarbananda Sonowal has ordered an investigation into the incident.
Bhuyan worked as a senior reporter for the Pratidin Time group and was also the local reporter for an Assamese daily Axomiya Khabar. He was the younger brother of former Assam minister Jagdish Bhuyan and the vice-president of the Tinsukia District Journalists’ Association.
After the accident, Bhuyan was taken to a nursing home in Dibrugarh in a critical condition. He died during treatment.
The police have identified the vehicle that hit Bhuyan and arrested its driver and another person, according to PTI. It is owned by a woman in Arunachal Pradesh.
Pratidin Time Editor-in-Chief Nitumoni Saikia said that Bhuyan was targeted because he had exposed corruption and illegal activities in Kakopathar area through his reportage, according to NDTV. He added that the police’s delayed response intensified his suspicions.
“The speeding vehicle hit him right in front of his home and escaped through a police check gate,” he was quoted as saying in a statement by NDTV. “This [Thursday] morning. Only after the intervention of the chief minister through the DGP [director general of police], the police sprang into action and seized the vehicle, 15 hours after the incident.” Saikia added that Bhuyan had also received threats.
“We at the Pratidin Time suspect it as a planned murder and demand a detailed inquiry into the whole incident and give justice to the family,” Saikia added, according to PTI.
The Guwahati Press Club said the police must form a special investigation team to look into the case. “The circumstances under which the senior journalist has lost his life hints towards foul play, making it a fit case for a high-level inquiry,” Guwahati Press Club President Manoj Kr Nath and General Secretary Sanjoy Ray said in a statement.
Chief Minister Sonowal, meanwhile, offered condolences to the journalist’s family. “Saddened to learn about the untimely demise of Parag Bhuyan, a reputed journalist and Vice-President of Tinsukia District Journalists’ Association,” he tweeted. “My sincere condolences to his bereaved family members and well-wishers.”