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Committee to Protect Journalists seeks independent probe into death of journalist Jagendra Singh
The Committee to Protect Journalists has called for an independent investigation into the death of Jagendra Singh, an Indian freelance journalist who died from burn injuries in a hospital in Lucknow on Monday. Before he died, Singh alleged that police set him on fire, according to news reports.
Singh was left with burns covering 60 percent of his body after a police raid at his home on June 1. While being treated in hospital, Singh made a statement to a police officer named Amitabh Thakur in which he said another police officer, Sriprakash Rai, doused him in petrol.

In his statement, the journalist also accused Ram Murti Singh Verma, a member of the ruling Samajwadi Party in India's most populous state, of "unleashing a reign of terror" on him and his family in reprisal for his investigative reports and critical comments against the minister. According to the report, the journalist told Thakur that his foot was broken during an earlier attack on April 28 near his house, by people he alleged were "the minister's henchmen." Thakur said he has video footage of Singh's statement, according to reports.

Singh's son Raghvendra has filed a police complaint naming Verma and Rai. Raghvendra Singh told police "barged into our house and questioned my father about the posts." He added: "They started beating him up ... They poured petrol over him and set him on fire."

Acording to a CPJ's release Police Superintendent Babloo Kumar told it that Singh killed himself when police attempted to arrest him. He said Singh was "wanted in a crime" and denied he was a journalist, adding that "he only wrote on social media." When asked for further details, Kumar said Singh was wanted for murder. He added "I don't remember" when CPJ asked for details of the murder the journalist was accused of being involved in.

"We call on authorities to conduct a swift, credible, and transparent investigation into the death of Jagendra Singh," said CPJ Asia Program Research Associate Sumit Galhotra in a statement. "Given the allegations of police participation, and India's poor track record of solving crimes in connection with reporting on local corruption, the involvement of an independent authority is essential."

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