Journalist’s murder: Akhilesh evades giving direct reply

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Refusing to act against Samajwadi Party minister Ram Murti Verma, accused of being involved in the murder of a journalist in Shahjahanpur, UP chief minister Akhlesh Kumar Yadav said, “His party had always fought against wrongdoings,” declining to give a direct answer.

This statement came even as the slain scribe’s family members continued their hunger strike for the second consecutive day demanding Verma’s removal and a CBI probe into the alleged killing.

Alleging pressure by SP goons and leaders to drop the case, the family is likely to meet UP governor Ram Naik to demand a CBI probe.

The victim’s wife said, “Police officers came along with SP goons and set my husband on fire. We want the minister’s resignation and arrest.”

Singh died after he was allegedly burnt alive by a police officer, for a Facebook post against Verma,  and succumbed while on way to a hospital.

On 15 June, another minister in the UP Cabinet, Parasnath Yadav, had defended his colleague Verma, by saying the scribe’s death must have been “written in his destiny”.

The defence came on a day, when senior SP leader Shivpal Yadav said, Verma wouldn’t be removed sans inquiry into the alleged killing of the journalist.

The family filed a PIL with the Allahabad High Court, demanding a CBI probe into the case and against alleged pressure by the SP leaders, to drop the charges.

Singh had written about Verma in newspapers, accusing him of illegal mining and forced occupation of land. The charges were said to have angered Verma, who implicated Singh in a false case.

Meanwhile, four policemen were suspended in connection with the case on Sunday, pending an inquiry.

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