Mumbai politicians, activists condemn Mid Day scribe’s murder


Mumbai: Strongly condemning the murder of veteran crime journalist Jyotindra Dey, journalists, politicians and activists in Mumbai demanded strict action against his killers.

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“The Press Club of Mumbai expresses shock over the killing of veteran crime journalist J.Dey,” said an office-bearer of the club.

“We demand that the perpetrators and conspirators of this heinous killing of the senior journalist be arrested and brought to book immediately,” he added.

A senior journalist who worked with Mid Day said that the Dey’s murder underlines the increasing threat that investigative journalists are being subjected to by powerful political and business interests indulging in illegal acts.

“Scores of incidents of journalists being beaten or threatened by politicians and local mafia have been brought to the fore in recent weeks and months,” he said.

Journalists’ organisations have also demanded a law to make attacks on journalists a non-bailable offence but to no avail, he noted.

Condemning the killing, Leader of Opposition in the assembly Eknath Khadse said that such attacks on media persons should be stopped. “The state government should take strict action to stop such attacks,” he said.

Former Mumbai police commissioner M.N. Singh said that the mafia gangs that were believed to have died down are slowing rising back to power. “Many mafia gangs have been rising back to power in and around Mumbai.”

“Dey’s death is a living proof of their existence,” he said.

A Bharatiya Janta Party (BJP) spokesperson, condoling the murder of Dey, lashed out against the government’s laxity in maintaining law and order. “Dey’s killing shows how the law and order situation has worsened in the state. Such an incident had never taken place in the recent history of Maharashtra,” he said.

“This incident shows that despite the tall claims by Home Minister R.R. Patil, the underworld can easily target their victim irrespective of his position,” he added.

Mumbai Congress president Kripashankar Singh also condemned the killing in strong words, saying: “Attack on a fearless journalist like Dey is an attack on democracy.”

Writing to Home Minister P. Chidambaram, the convener of Mumbai-based NGO Movement against Intimidation, Threat and Revenge against Activists (MITRA) demanded that the government take note of the strengthening hold of mafia.

“Dey was the first journalist to have written an investigative piece on the sand mafia of Raigad in 2004 after I was assaulted on Kihim Beach,” said Sumaira Abdulali, the convener of MITRA.

“The stranglehold of mafias in Maharashtra is impeding free, fair and active civil society (including journalists), who increasingly fear for their safety and lives,” she said.

Dey, the editor (special investigations) for Mid Day, was shot dead by unidentified assailants near Powai area of northwest Mumbai Saturday afternoon.

Considered to be one of the most effective writers on Mumbai’s underworld, Dey had been reporting on crime for the last 22 years. Before taking up crime reporting as a career, Dey was a deep sea scuba diver.

He had wide contacts in several police departments and had broken numerous stories related to the underworld.

Dey had been writing about gangsters Dawood Ibrahim, Chota Rajan and others for a long time.