Second Indian journalist killed in one month

Shantanu Bhowmick was covering political unrest in Agartala, the capital of remote Tripura state in India's northeast. (AFP)
Updated 21 September 2017
0

Second Indian journalist killed in one month

NEW DELHI: A reporter covering political unrest in India’s northeast was beaten to death during violent clashes, officials said Thursday, two weeks after the high-profile murder of another prominent journalist.
Shantanu Bhowmick was set upon with sticks as he reported on violence Wednesday between warring political factions and police outside Agartala, the capital of remote Tripura state.
State police superintendent Abhijit Saptarshi said more than a dozen officers were also injured in the fracas and tensions remained high in the troubled region.
“We later found the journalist’s body at the site of the clashes,” he told AFP from Tripura.
No arrests have yet been made in connection with the reporter’s death, but four people were detained on separate charges related to the political violence, Saptarshi said.
Bhowmick’s death brings the number of reporters killed in India since the early 1990s to 29, according to figures from the Committee to Protect Journalists.
It comes just a fortnight after the murder of Gauri Lankesh, a newspaper editor and outspoken critic of the ruling Hindu nationalist party whose death sparked an outpouring of anger.
The 55-year-old was shot dead by three unknown gunmen as she entered her home in the southern city of Bangalore in Karnataka state on September 5.
No one has yet been identified or arrested in connection with the killing.
In 2015 India was ranked the deadliest country in Asia for journalists by Reporters Without Borders — although most deaths occur in remote rural areas away from the major urban centers.
And in April, the press freedom group ranked the country 136th of 180 countries in its world press freedom ratings, blaming “Hindu nationalists trying to purge all manifestations of ‘anti-national’ thought from the national debate.”


Japan minister apologizes after ‘sexy yoga’ claims

Updated 15 min 19 sec ago
0

Japan minister apologizes after ‘sexy yoga’ claims

TOKYO: Japan’s education minister apologized Wednesday for using an official car to visit a yoga studio, but denied claims that the facility was offering “sexy private yoga.”
The row is the latest headache for Prime Minister Shinzo Abe’s government, which is already under fire after two cronyism scandals and sexual harassment claims against a top finance ministry bureaucrat.
The Shukan Bunshun weekly magazine on Wednesday reported that Education Minister Yoshimasa Hayashi visited a yoga studio in the hip Ebisu district in Tokyo using a state car and took private lessons there.
“I apologize for creating confusion amid a tense parliamentary situation,” Hayashi told reporters.
“As the government is facing severe rebuke and criticism, I will serve the public in a more disciplined manner,” he said, in an apparent reference to various scandals involving the cabinet in recent weeks.
“I should have drawn a line between the public and the private, even though this case was in line with rules,” he added.
Ministers are permitted to use government vehicles for private use in between public engagements, local media said.
The magazine described the yoga studio as a “sexy private yoga” studio run by a former porn actress that offers private lessons and oil massages.
But Hayashi said he was simply taking “regular yoga lessons and massages with finger pressure” for better health.
The president of the yoga studio has denied that she was ever a porn actress and is demanding a correction and an apology from the magazine.
“I firmly deny the article which presents an indecent image and is completely different from the facts,” she said.
The studio’s website says it offers private lessons for men or couples.
Support for Abe’s government has flagged due to two cronyism scandals and criticism of the way the finance ministry has handled claims that its top bureaucrat sexually harassed female reporters.
Around half of voters now disapprove of Abe’s administration, and a similar number want his Finance Minister Taro Aso to step down, polls published Monday found.
The polls bode ill for Abe’s bid to be reelected party chief in September in a vote he was once expected to win easily.