Arrests over India journalist murder

Sandeep Kothari Image copyright Other
Image caption Sandeep Kothari was allegedly kidnapped and burnt to death

Police in central India have arrested three men suspected of kidnapping a journalist and burning him to death.

Sandeep Kothari was abducted in his home state of Madhya Pradesh on Friday.

Media reports say he may have been targeted for writing about illegal mining in the area and for pursuing a related case in court.

Mr Kothari's death is the latest in an apparently unrelated spate of serious attacks on Indian journalists.

The journalist, 40, disappeared from his home in Balaghat in Madhya Pradesh on Friday night. His charred body was found near a railway track in neighbouring Maharashtra state the following evening.

Police said the three men held in connection with the murder were suspected to be involved in illegal mining.

"We are investigating the case from all angles... It will be premature to conclude the exact reason behind the kidnapping and killing," police official JS Markam told the Press Trust of India.

Journalists often face harassment and intimidation by police, politicians and bureaucrats in India.

Earlier this month police registered a murder and criminal conspiracy case against a ruling party politician over the death of freelance journalist Jagendra Singh.

Mr Singh published an article and posted allegations of corruption on Facebook against Ram Murti Singh Verma, who denies the charges.

India ranked 136 out of 180 nations in the 2015 World Press Freedom Index, according to Paris-based Reporters without Borders.

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