Five policemen of Uttar Pradesh were suspended in connection with the gruesome killing of Shahjahanpur-based journalist Jagendra Singh recently.
Singh was allegedly burnt alive by some policemen on 1 June and he succumbed to his injuries on 8 June. His family alleged that the police set him on fire for writing against Samajwadi Party leader Ram Murti Verma, who happens to be a minister of the state.
The five policemen were booked on Saturday after the state police started a probe into the allegations made by Singh's family.
"The probe into alleged killing of journalist Jagendra Singh by minister and five others in Shahjahanpur has been handed over to DIG, Bareilly range," PTI quoted IG Law and Order A Satish Ganesh as saying.
His son Raghvendra had filed a complaint at Puwayan police station of Shahjahanpur after Singh died during a treatment on 8 June.
However, an FIR was registered against Verma, who is also the Backward Classes Welfare Minister in SP cabinet, Inspector (Chowk) Sri Prakash Rai, Gufran, Akash Gupta, Amit Pratap Singh and Bhure on Friday, PTI reports.
The FIR was registered under Sections 302 (murder), 120 B (criminal conspiracy), 504 (intentional insult with intent to provoke breach of peace) and 506 (criminal intimidation) of IPC.
A Public Interest Litigation (PIL) has also been filed in the Allahabad High Court demanding a CBI probe into the alleged killing of Singh. The PIL, filed on 11 June by an NGO, is likely to be heard on 15 June.
What happened on 1 June?
On 1 June, four policemen, led by inspector Sri Prakash Rai, allegedly forcibly entered Singh's house in Awas Vikas Colony in Sadar Bazar. They first thrashed him and then burnt him alive by pouring petrol on him.
Singh had sustained severe burn injuries and was rushed to a nearby hospital, from where he was shifted to a hospital in Lucknow. He succumbed to his injuries on 8 June while undergoing treatment.
Why was he burnt alive?
Singh and his family have accused Verma of getting him killed for writing an article against the minister.
In an article, Singh claimed that Murti was involved in unlawful activities, including forced land occupation and illegal mining. This is believed to have enraged the MLA. What added fuel to the SP leader's ire was Singh's Facebook post.
In the post, he claimed that Verma indulged into wrongdoings in politics. He accused the minister of trying to obstruct one Amit Yadav alias Rinku from getting ticket for election for Legislative Council (MLC).
He further accused Verma of backstabbing his own party members and helping a BJP leader in the assembly elections. Besdies, he also accused Verma of being an opportunist.
Jagendra Singh's last words before dying
On the day of his death, Singh accused Verma of "unleashing" several attacks on him and his family for writing against him. Describing the incident of last Monday, Singh asked why the inspector had to burn him alive, instead they could have just arrested him or beaten him up.
Singh, writhing in pain as skin flakes off his burnt body, narrated the incident and his agony to an unknown person, who shot the entire conversation. The video was then released on social media and it went viral.
"They jumped from the wall and entered my house. They first beat me up then poured petrol and burnt me alive.If they wanted, they could have arrested me, why did they set me on fire," Singh asks in the video.
"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," says the slain journalist in the clip.