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Parmanand Goyal, a journalist for the daily newspaper "Punjab Kesari" in Kaithal, India, was shot and killed on 18 September, report the International Federation of Journalists (IFJ) and the Committee to Protect Journalists (CPJ).

Three unidentified men went to Goyal's home on the morning of 18 September and asked to speak with him, IFJ says. According to Goyal's son, the visitors told his father to stop publishing articles critical of the police and of a local political figure, Chief Minister Shri Om Parkash Chautala. An argument ensued and Goyal was shot. He was taken to a hospital but pronounced dead on arrival, CPJ reports.

CPJ notes that Goyal was arrested on corruption charges in May and released on bail in early September. His family says the charges against him are false. In a letter sent to India's Prime Minister, Shri Atal Bihari Vajpayee, IFJ has urged the Indian government to launch a Central Bureau of Investigations inquiry into Goyal's murder.

Goyal is the second journalist killed in the state of Haryana in the past two years. On 23 November 2002, Ramchander Chhattarpati died after being shot by an alleged member of a religious sect in the city of Sirsa, according to Reporters Without Borders (Reporters sans frontières, RSF). Chhattarpati was the publication director of "Poor Sach" ("The Whole Truth"), a Hindi-language newspaper.

RSF says the shooting was apparently linked to articles Chhattarpati wrote about alleged sexual abuses and other illegal activities conducted by members of the sect and its guru, Sant Gurmeet Ram Rahim Singh Ji. At least four persons, including one of the sect's directors, were arrested in the course of the investigation carried out after the shooting [See IFEX Alert of 26 November 2002:].


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