Three in India held over journalist's murder

BALAGHAT (Madhya Pradesh) - Three men suspected of kidnapping and murdering a journalist working in the central Indian state of Madhya Pradesh have been arrested.

The journalist, Mr Sandeep Kothari, disappeared from his home in Balaghat last Friday night, the BBC reported.

His charred body was found the following evening near a railway track in the neighbouring state of Maharashtra.

According to media reports, Mr Kothari may have been murdered for writing about illegal mining in the area. He was also pursuing a related case in court.

Police said the three men arrested were suspected to be involved in illegal mining.

"We are investigating the case from all angles... It will be premature to conclude the exact reason behind the kidnapping and killing," police official J.S. Markam told the Press Trust of India.

Mr Kothari's death is the latest in a spate of serious attacks on India's journalists, who often face harassment and intimidation by politicians, the police and bureaucrats.

Earlier this month, police registered a murder and criminal conspiracy case against Uttar Pradesh politician Ram Murti Singh Verma, a member of the ruling Samajwadi Party, over the death of freelance journalist Jagendra Singh.

India is ranked 136 out of 180 nations in the 2015 World Press Freedom Index, according to the Paris-based Reporters without Borders.

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on June 23, 2015, with the headline 'Three in India held over journalist's murder'. Print Edition | Subscribe