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Journalist Hacked To Death In Tamil Nadu

At around 10.30 pm on Sunday night, J Gnanaraj Jesudasan heard a voice call out to his son.

Jesudasan, 54, a journalist with Tamil publication Maalai Tamizhagam, went out to see who it was.

Manoj Selvam, a young man known to them, had arrived and Jesudasan heard Manoj asking his son Isravel Moses for a phone number.

“I did not hear what they were saying but then Manoj asked my son Moses to take a walk with him and my son set out,” Jesudasan told The Lede.

The father recounted tearfully how both of them went towards the eri (lake) when two people appeared with large knives. “Manoj seems to have run away and the two assailants attacked my son, hacking him on his hands and legs with the knives. My son came running towards the house, screaming. Hearing his screams, I rushed out of the house. One assailant hacked him on his head with the knife,” said Jesudasan.

The ambulance arrived and Moses was taken to the Chromepet Government Hospital by around 12.30 am. He was declared dead upon arrival.

Isravel Moses, 26, was the Sriperumbudur reporter for Tamizhan TV, a Tamil news channel.

Jesudasan recounted what happened over the past six months, which culminated in the attack on the young journalist.

“Some criminal gangs had grabbed land behind our house. An apartment was planned to be constructed there. The residents who originally owned it had removed the stones marking the plots. Upon enquiry by the rowdies, residents falsely named Moses as having removed the stones.

One person by name Navamani had been claiming vociferously that Moses was behind the deed.

I asked my son to give a police complaint against Navamani for spreading falsehoods. My son refused, saying that he had spoken informally to a policeman whom he knew and that the policemen had reassured him that he will take care of it.

In the interim, Navamani had been arrested on some other charges and was released later.

I personally met Navamani’s uncle and asked him if I should file a complaint or if he would stop his nephew from spreading falsehoods. His uncle assured me that it would not happen again.

This took place around 6 months ago,” said Jesudasan.

All was quiet for six months, until the issue erupted again as the apartment construction was about to begin. The original owners of the land once again removed stones in the area.

“Navamani again claimed that my son has instigated the owners. My son has nothing to do with this. He had not reported about any of this. He did not instigate anyone,” stated Jesudasan.

Somangalam police have arrested four persons and charged them with Section 302 (murder). The accused are Manoj Selvam, Venkatesan Sekar aka Attai, Vignesh Tirumalai aka Eli Appu and Navamani Duraisamy.

“Moses was a very enterprising and soft-spoken young man and this is a terrible thing to have happened,” said AJ Sagayaraj, chief reporter of Tamizhan TV. “This deed was not by any political party or politician. They were criminal gangs,” he clarified when asked about whether there was political influence behind the crime.

“My son is no more. But such a thing should never happen to any journalist again. This violence needs to stop,” said Moses’ father Jesudasan.

Several journalist associations as well opposition party leaders have condemned the murder and demanded justice for Moses’ family.

Dravida Munnetra Kazhagam (DMK) President MK Stalin issued a statement: “I express my shock and condemnation over this brutal murder of a journalist. Immediate and stringent action needs to be taken against the criminals behind this act. The DMK will stand by and uphold the freedom of the press.”

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