The death of Shahjahanpur-based journalist Jagendra Singh’s death had triggered national outrage but the scribe’s family has now come out and said that Singh may have killed himself and have said that they do not want a CBI enquiry in the case. A video released before his death showed Singh directing the blame for his death at Samajwadi party minister Ram Murti Verma. Singh had been critical of Verma in his articles and had accused him of sexually assaulting an Anganwadi worker.
He said that some goons along with UP police officers had set him on fire at Verma’s behest. Pushpendra, one of Singh’s sons has told The Times of India that his father “was misled and drawn into a conspiracy” against an “innocent” Verma. The manner of Singh’s death had sent the nation into a tizzy and UP Chief Minister Akhilesh Yadav had visited the scribe’s family after media outrage at the incident. Yadav had promised Rs 30 lakh to the family as compensation and jobs for two of its members. He promised to sort out legal issues surrounding a piece of land they owned and said the family would get gun licenses.The report mentions however that the gun licenses were withdrawn after the family decided to ask for a CBI enquiry into the matter. The family has since retracted their demands. Jagendra’s son, Pushpendra is quoted by the newspaper saying: “My father was being used as a pawn in a conspiracy hatched by three local SP leaders who wished to settle scores with Ram Murti Verma.
They instigated my father to start writing against the minister. My father was fed information he could use as 'ammunition.” When asked why he was so certain that his father committed suicide, Pushpendra told the newspaper that one of his father’s close friends told him that Jagendra had stocked petrol in the room. “My father told him that the petrol was kept at the ready so that if cops came to arrest him he could sprinkle himself with it and threaten immolation.
That was probably what cost him his life,” he said. The family had earlier alleged that some police officers along with local goons had set Jagendra Singh on fire. They also claimed that his leg had been broken by Verma’s goons earlier. An FIR had been registered against Jagendra in a “false case”, they had alleged.
The police had reportedly gone to arrest Singh on that fateful day when he was set on fire. Jagendra’s other son, Rahul, spoke to TNM in the week after his father’s death and had laid the blame squarely on Verma saying that his father had been murdered. The family’s backtracking has surprised the Shahjahanpur Press Club, whose secretary, Shiv Kumar tells the newspaper that its hard “coming to terms” with the latest development in the case after the support given to Jagendra’s family. “Even if the family worked out a compromise, they should not have gone to the extent of painting the man in such poor light. He was an upright, principled man,” Kumar said of Singh.