The Bihar Post

Journalist Rajdeo Ranjan: A watchmaker’s son who became a ‘watchdog’

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PATNA: He wanted to be a journalist and he did it.

Yes, I am talking about Rajdeo Ranjan, the Siwan district bureau chief of Hindi daily ‘Hindustan’, who was killed in cold blood late on Friday evening by what police say were “unidentified criminals” but his family members say “just everyone knows who are behind his killing”.

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Rajdeo was son of a watch mechanic Radha Krsihna Chaudhary. He came at number two position among his three brothers.

Rajdeo Ranjan

While his other brothers were only too happy with inheriting their father’s business, Rajdeo never looked interested in it and wanted to do a challenging job—yes, to become a journalist. And, finally he became a journalist, pursuing higher studies although that is not the criteria for getting a journalist job.

Bole ki ham patrakar banenge…aur ban gaye. Unko hamari ghadi ki dukan men interest nahin tha (He told me he wants to be a journalist and became one day. He had no interest in my watch shop),” says his elderly father Chaudhary, recollecting his old memories about his slain son.

Chaudhary was a watch mechanic who used this profession to run his family. He no longer is in this business now due to his old age.

He says his son was the pride of his entire village, Hakkam, a Yadav-dominated village with some 300 houses, and whenever the villager felt conveying any message to the government, they would straightway reach Rajdeo. He never disappointed them. But now everything is lost, he mourns.

“Banal khel bigad gaya…Jo the wahi the…Sabko naz tha (Our entire plan has got spoilt at once. He was the only one who reached that height in my family. The entire village was proud of him),” adds his grief-struck father, a broken man now.

Being the head of the family, this rests on this old man’s shoulder’s the heavier responsibility to take care of his son’s two little children—son Ashish Ranjan, a Class 10 student and seven-year-old daughter Sakshi, and his widow Asha Devi, a primary school teacher.

Locals recall Rajdeo was quite sharp at his memories and all the political incidents which took place in Swian and around were on his fingertips. Especially, he was an expert in doing stories over incarcerated don Mohammad Shahabuddin.

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Rajdeo, a bold and brave journalist, had been associated with Hindustan, a Hindi-language newspaper, for the past over two decades.

The police are now investigating the alleged possible involvement of Shahabuddin in his killing, according to The Indian Express.

The paper reports that recently a photograph that Rajdeo received from Siwan jail of Minority Welfare minister Abdul Ghafoor meeting Shahabuddin in jail and having a feast with him inside had gone viral.

Rajdeo, 45, was shot dead by motorcycle-borne gunmen from a close range near the Siwan railway station on Friday evening while he was returning home after work when.

The incident triggered a wave of protests across the state. Even the national as well as international media has expressed concern over this killing and sought for a proper investigation.

This was the second incident of murder of journalists in quick succession. On Thursday evening, a Television journalist was shot dead in Chatra district of neighbouring Jharkhand.

Here in the case too, the victim who worked for a news channel was returning home on his bike when the criminals sprayed bullets on him, killing him on the spot. The reason behind his killing is not known.

Journalists remain the soft targets of attacks across the globe.

According to a latest report of “Reporters Without Border”, the media watchdog, a total of 110 journalists were killed in 2015 while doing their work for unclear reasons with India figuring among three top dangerous countries for journalists.

As per the report, as many as nine journalists lost their lives last year while discharging their duty in India, pushing it ahead of both Pakistan and Afghanistan.

Besides India, the eight other countries where the most journalists were killed are Iraq (11), Syria (10), France (8), Yemen (8), Mexico (8), South Sudan (7), the Philippines (7) and Honduras (7), as per the report released in December 2015.

Image Caption: Radha Krsihna Chaudhary, slain journalist’s father

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