UN urges probe into death of Indian journalist

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United Nations
Washington, Jul 16: A top UN official urged Indian authorities to investigate into the death of Hem Chandra Pandey, the journalist who was killed early in Jul 2010 in an encounter with the police in Andhra Pradesh.

Irina Bokova, Director General of the UN Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) said that he is concerned about the circumstances in which Hem Chandra Pandey was killed and urges the authorities for an inquiry.

Pandey, 30, was killed along with Maoist leader Cherukuri Rajkumar alias Azad on July 2. Babita, Pandey's wife told media on Jul 4 that her husband had left for Nagpur on Jun 30 on some assignment and also requested the Centre for an inquiry. She also mentioned that the incident was a fake encounter. She added that she does not trust the state authorities to be honest.

The International Federation of Journalists (IFJ) expressed shock shortly after the incident was reported. "Hem Chandra Pandey, like any journalist, was well within his rights in seeking to interview an insurgent leader, especially in the context of ongoing peace moves," IFJ Asia-Pacific Director Jacqueline Park said.

"The IFJ extends its solidarity to Babita Pandey and the family of the killed journalist, and welcomes the Andhra Pradesh Home Minister's announcement of a full inquiry," she added.

Human rights groups in India and civil liberty activists have also called for a central investigation into Pandey's assassination.

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