Jagendra Singh

06 June 2015

The 42-year-old freelance journalist Jagendra Singh died from major burn injuries sustained after he was allegedly set alight in Lucknow, Uttar Pradesh, in India’s north.

According to the local police at the scene, the journalist set himself on fire when they arrived at his home to arrest him for an alleged crime. However, according to local mediareports, Singh informed a police officer in a statement prior to his death that he was doused with petrol by the police officer, Sriprakash Rai and set alight.

Singh’s family have registered a criminal case against Uttar Pradesh’s Minister of State for Backward Class Welfare, Ram Murti Verma, four associates and four policemen accusing them of the plot to kill her husband after a series of intimidations leading up to his death. The case was only registered after Singh’s family refused to conduct his last rites.

Singh’s son, Rajan, alleges his father was targeted because he regularly posted articles on Facebook on his investigations into Minister Verma’s alleged corrupt practices, including mining and land grabs. Verma is a member of the ruling Samajwadi Party in Uttar Pradesh, India's most populous state. Earlier, on April 28, Singh was allegedly attacked by Verma’s associates and his ankle broken. Singh’s son also alleged that police had ‘framed an abduction case’ against Singh on May 15.

In a Facebook post on May 22, Singh wrote: "Ram Murti Singh Verma can have me killed. At this time, politician, thugs, and police, all are after me. Writing the truth is bearing heavily on my life. After exposing some of Ram Murti Verma's acts, he had me attacked..."