Friday, September 19, 2003, Chandigarh, India

National Capital Region--Delhi


M A I N   N E W S

Journalist shot dead in Kaithal
Family members allege Chautala hand
Yoginder Gupta and Satish Seth
Tribune News Service

Protesters gather around the car carrying the body of journalist Parmanand Goyal at Pehowa Chowk, Kaithal, on Thursday.
Protesters gather around the car carrying the body of journalist Parmanand Goyal at Pehowa Chowk, Kaithal, on Thursday. — Photo by Satish Seth

Kaithal, September 18
Parmanand Goyal, a local journalist, was shot here today by three motor-cycle-borne assailants. Goyal is the second journalist to fall to the bullets of assailants in the state this year. Earlier, Sirsa journalist Ramchander Chhattarpati was shot.

The family of Goyal has held Chief Minister Om Prakash Chautala and Superintendent of Police Yogender Nehra responsible for the murder. The killers were apparently hired assassins and not locals.

Goyal, who was arrested in two corruption cases in May was out on bail since early this month. His family says the cases against him were fabricated.

When Goyal’s son, Naveen ‘Rinku’ answered the doorbell at 7 am, he met three men in their early 20s, who asked for Goyal. Rinku offered them chairs to sit in the lawn and called his father. His mother and his brother’s wife were busy in the kitchen.

Rinku claimed he had heard the visitors telling Goyal that they had been sent by the Superintendent of Police to stop him from writing against the Chief Minister and the police.

Goyal and the visitors then entered into an argument, during which one of the visitors shot at him from the point blank range. The assailants fled. Rinku said he had even chased them for some distance and one of them had dropped his helmet in the melee.

Goyal was taken to hospital where doctors declared him “brought dead”. Earlier Rinku said, their telephone calls to the control room and the new Anaj Mandi police post, about 200 m from Goyal’s house, had remained unanswered. The doctors also informed the police on telephone at 7.15 am, but the police reached the hospital after one hour.

By that time a large crowd had gathered in the hospital and started raising slogans against the police. The crowd was agitated because the police had reportedly refused to register the FIR as per the statement of the family of Goyal. The efforts of the police and local MLA Leela Ram to pacify the crowd were futile. When the Superintendent of Police came to the hospital at 9 am, the family insisted on including his name in the FIR.

The crowd grew restive and took the body to Pehowa Chowk where they blocked traffic. Following the intervention of the Deputy Commissioner, Mr Anurag Aggarwal, the mob lifted the blockade and the family agreed for the post-mortem examination to be conducted. However, the family still wanted the police officer to be named in the FIR.

To end the stalemate, the police lodged an FIR on the basis of an information received from the SHO, City Police Station, Mr Karnail Singh. This was done presumably on the advice of the IG, Ambala range, Mr Alok Joshi, who along with the Commissioner, Ambala, Mr Maha Singh Malik, had also reached here.

Mr Joshi said the police had been able to gather a few clues and was working on certain theories, on which he refused to elaborate. When asked if the police was looking into the allegation levelled by the family of Goyal, he said the police had not received any “documented allegation”. The statements of members of the family would be recorded for that, he said. Goyal was cremated in the evening.

Local journalists have said that in view of the seriousness of the allegation levelled by Goyal’s family, a CBI inquiry should be held into the murder. However, the government is unlikely to accept the demand. After the murder of Chhattarpati, a similar request had been denied. Even before the High Court, where a petition filed by Chhattarpati’s son demanding a CBI inquiry is pending, the government is opposing the petition.

A former president of the Haryana Congress, Mr Shamsher Singh Surjewala; and president of the Haryana Kisan Khet Mazdoor Congress, Mr Tejinder Pal Singh Mann, also supported the demand for the CBI inquiry and described Goyal’s murder as being “politically motivated.”



Cong seeks CBI probe into scribe’s murder
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, September 18
The murder of Mr Parmanand Goyal at his residence in Kaithal today elicited severe condemnation from opposition Congress leaders who called it an assault on the freedom of the Press by the powers that be in Haryana.

A statement by the PCC quoting its chief, Mr Bhajan Lal, said the murder was reminiscent of the dictatorial approach of Chief Minister Om Prakash Chautala, who had also tried to gag the Press by stopping advertisements to reputed English dailies and a number of small newspapers. Two journalists were also harassed earlier by the state government for reporting about a meeting of dissident INLD legislators, the statement said, adding that the present government had also turned down press-persons’ demand for a CBI probe into the murder of Sirsa-based journalist Chhatrapati.

Mr Parmanand Goyal was also put behind bars and he could get out on bail only through intervention by the High Court. The statement said the murder of Parmanand should not create any sense of insecurity among journalists as the Congress would stand by all upright journalists.

Mr Bhajan Lal demanded that the CBI must be asked to probe the murder in all aspects, including “alleged involvement of the powers that be in the crime”. He also called upon the National Human Rights Commission (NHRC) to look into the incident, adding that an outfit such as the NHRC must be created in Haryana so that the dissenters could feel a sense of security.

Mr Shamsher Singh Surjewala, President of the Haryana Krishak Samaj and a former HPCC chief, said the assassination of Mr Parmanand Goyal was politically motivated. The journalist was very close to Chief Minister Om Prakash Chautala and was also allegedly his business partner. But a criminal case was registered against Mr Goyal when he fell out with Mr Chautala.

Mr Surjewala added that during the four-year tenure of the Chautala Government, a large number of false cases were registered against journalists and even their transfers were arranged by the government for writing fearlessly.

Mr Surjewala, also a former member of the Rajya Sabha, condemned the murder and demanded CBI inquiry into it. President’s rule must be imposed on Haryana because a fair inquiry would not be possible with the present government in saddle.

Mr Bhupinder Singh Hooda, Leader of the Opposition in the assembly, said that the murder was an attack on the freedom of the Press. He said Mr Chautala’s policy of releasing dreaded criminals had resulted into lawlessness in the state.

The Chandigarh, Punjab Union of Journalist (CPUJ) President, Mr Vinod Kohli, and the Haryana Patrakar Sangh President, K.B. Pandit, demanded a high-level inquiry into the dastardly killing.

Mr Yogendra Gupta, president of the Haryana unit of the National Union of Journalists, also condemned the killing.


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