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Bihar: RTI Activist and Journalist Who Exposed Illegal Clinics Murdered

Prasad GLN

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The charred body of an RTI activist and journalist who had ‘exposed’ illegal medical clinics that were operating in his village was recovered on Friday night, reports Umesh Kumar Ray.

The body of Buddhinath Jha, also known as Avinash Jha, was found five kilometres away from Benipatti village in the Madhubani district of Bihar, where the 22-year-old lived. He was working with a local Hindi news portal, BNN News Benipatti.

Buddhinath went missing on the night of November 9, when he left his house. He was last seen crossing the road near his clinic at around 9:58 pm that day, according to close circuit TV camera (CCTV) video footage. He was seen talking to somebody over the phone and pacing near the main road, according to the footage.

There was no information about his whereabouts after that. B.J. Bikash, his cousin, told The Wire.

Family members said they suspected the medical mafia’s role in the killing, as Jha – in his capacity as a journalist and transparency activist – had filed complaints against illegal clinics, resulting in the closure of some and fines against others.

Family members told The Wire, “When we went to his room in the morning, we found his bike near his clinic. His laptop was on, which means he planned to go out only for a few minutes.”

On November 10, his family members informed the local police. According to family members, his mobile phone was traced to a village around five kilometres away on the morning of November 10.

On November 11, Chandrashekhar Jha, his elder brother, lodged a complaint at the Benipatti police station. “My brother has been missing since November 9. His mobile phone is switched off,” the application says.

His complaint named 11 private nursing homes in the area, saying they may have played a role in Buddhinath’s disappearance as the journalist had filed complaints against them under the Public Grievances Redressal Act.

Meanwhile, his friends and relatives wrote about his disappearance on Facebook. On November 12, B.J. Bikash got a call from a village about five kilometres from Benipatti. “At around 6:41 pm, I got a call.

The caller told me that a dead body has been found beside a state highway. We, along with the police, went there and found his charred body. We identified him and his body was cremated after a postmortem,” he says.

Arvind Kumar, SHO of Benipatti police station told The Wire, “We have taken a few suspects into custody. The matter is being investigated.”

Courtesy: The Wire.

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