In Patna, whenever I interacted with our district correspondents, ‘Ranjan’ would leave quite an impression on me. His replies to queries were straight and to the point, and he never minced words while expressing his opinion. He had an ever-smiling demeanour, but his voice never wavered when he spoke. It was evident that while this man respected my age, experience and position, he was equally confident of his own capabilities. Such was Rajdeo ‘Ranjan’, a man who had all the qualities of a good journalist.
That’s why, since Friday night, I have been unable to comprehend as to who would have killed Rajdeo? Why? Was there a devious criminal mind or a syndicate behind it? Were the killers trying to send a message in the way they put a pistol to his head and shot him on a busy street in front of hundreds of onlookers?
There was never any report of Rajdeo having a personal enmity with anyone. So who could be this anonymous enemy? Or could it be that through Rajdeo’s killing, a strong message is being sent out to the entire media fraternity? Footage from the CCTV camera near the murder-spot is missing. This can only be the handiwork of professional killers or conspirators. Who are they? Where are they hiding? When will the police reach them? No journalist has been killed like this in Bihar.
Clearly, the ruling class and all those in charge of law and order need to bring out the truth in public. All the more so because journalists like Rajdeo Ranjan and newspapers like Hindustan remain fearless as they have earned the trust and support of the common man. It is this ordinary public that elects governments.
It needs no iterating that today journalism is amongst the most dangerous professions in the world. Yet, why do people get attracted to it? It is because society needs truth and journalism is the most powerful medium to bring out that truth. We have made sacrifices and we will continue to do so, till it is necessary.
In the immortal words of the great Punjabi poet “Pash”, I would say that we will fight my friends, because it is necessary to fight. For now, the first target of this struggle will be to bring the killers of Rajdeo Ranjan to book. Here I would like to thank friends in the media for their united stand on the issue. Thanks also to all those people, including new-age bestselling author Amish Tripathi, several public intellectuals and our esteemed readers for their support and encouragement to not get deterred by this tragedy. Believe me, we are nothing without your patronage. And we once again reaffirm our resolve to continue to be your voice.
Shashi Shekhar is the Editor-in-Chief of Hindustan