Arrested Bihar editor begins fast over bad jail food


Patna : Navlesh Pathak, editor of an English weekly arrested for the murder of Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) legislator Raj Kishore Kesri, Thursday went on an indefinite fast at Bihar’s Purnia jail to protest the poor quality of food served to him.

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“Navlesh Pathak has appealed to the jail officials in his letter to provide him edible food instead of poor quality of food as he has lost eight to ten kg of weight in the last 25 days,” a close relative of Navlesh Pathak told IANS.

Navlesh Pathak’s family members have repeatedly alleged that he is being badly treated by the jail officials.

Last month, Pathak said he fears danger to his life. “I fear threat and danger to my life in judicial custody to hide evidences against powerful people in the case,” he said.

Kesri, a BJP legislator from Purnia constituency, was killed Jan 4 at his home by school teacher Rupam Pathak, who alleged the politician had raped her for over three years.

Navlesh Pathak, editor of Purnia-based English weekly Quisling, was the first to report about Rupam’s sexual harassment complaint. He was arrested after Kesri’s nephew filed a complaint against three people, including Rupam. A Bihar court last month sent him to judicial custody for 14 days.

He had demanded Central Reserve Police Force (CRPF) security during judicial custody. The court on Monday extended his judicial custody by 14 more days.

Ruma, Navlesh Pathak’s wife, alleged that police have been biased in their investigations.

Rupam Pathak, 40, went to Kesri’s home in Purnia and stabbed him to death in the presence of a number of people. Following the murder, Rupam was beaten up by Kesri’s security guards and supporters. She alleged that Kesri, 51, had raped her for over three years, a charge the BJP refuted.

Bihar Chief Minister Nitish Kumar in January ordered a Central Bureau of Investigation probe into the murder following a hue and cry by the opposition and women organisations.

A group of journalists in Bihar have demanded the immediate release of Navlesh Pathak.