UP journalist's death: Initial report suggests self-immolation

Lucknow: A preliminary forensic report of the Shahjahanpur-based journalist Jagendra Singh, who was allegedly killed, has pointed towards self-immolation angle, but the Uttar Pradesh police are awaiting the full report before coming to any conclusion.

"We have received a part of the forensic report. We are awaiting the second part of the report to come to any conclusion. The report as of now is inconclusive," Superintendent of Police Shahjahanpur Bablu Kumar said. Asked about the initial forensic report which suggests that the burn wounds were 'self-inflicted', the SP said, "It is there in the report but for any conclusion we are waiting for the rest of the report. We are likely to get the remaining part of the report soon to come to any conclusion," he said, adding that a probe in the matter was already underway under DIG, Bareilly range.

According to official sources, the initial findings are based on the forensic examination of the crime scene and Singh's autopsy."Jagendra suffered more wounds on the left side of his abdomen in the lower chest region. This happens when a right-handed individual pours petrol on himself," they said.

Singh, a freelance journalist, was allegedly set on fire on June 1 during a police raid at his house at Awas Vikas colony in Sadar Bazar area of Shahjananupr. He died during treatment at a hospital in Lucknow on June 8. Singh's family had lodged a complaint with the police against UP minister Ram Murti Verma and five others, including policemen, at Puwayan police station of Shahjahanpur.

An FIR was registered against Verma and others under sections 302 (murder), 120 B (criminal conspiracy), 504 intentional insult with intent to provoke breach of the peace) and 506 (criminal intimidation) of the IPC. The video footage of dying declaration, which went viral on news channels and social media, showed Singh saying, "Why did they have to burn me? If the minister and his goons had a grudge, they could have beaten me instead of pouring kerosene and burning me."

The journalist had invited Verma's ire by posting reports on Facebook about illegal mining activities and land grabbing against the minister. A public interest litigation (PIL) has also been filed in the Allahabad High Court seeking directions for CBI probe and strict action against erring persons.

The Uttar Pradesh government had on Monday announced an aid of Rs 30 lakh, two government jobs and an 'impartial' probe into the killing of the journalist.

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