On 26th March 2018 human rights defender Sandeep Sharma 35 years old was killed by a dumper in Bhind, Madhya Pradesh, where he was documenting the environmental damage cause by illegal sand quarrying.
Sandeep Sharma was a 35 year old journalist who worked for the national news channel and constantly denounced sand mining exploitation which is strictly illegal in most parts of India. Three Indian journalists have been struck by vehicles and killed in recent days in what their families and rights groups claim were deliberate attacks.
The deaths of the reporters Sandeep Sharma in Madhya Pradesh state, and Navin Nischal and Vijay Singh in Bihar state, have underlined India’s status as one of the most dangerous places in the world to be a journalist, particularly in languages other than English and outside large cities.
Sharma, 36, had recently conducted an undercover “sting” that claimed to have produced footage of a senior police official in his area agreeing to accept a 25,000-rupee (£272) bribe each month in exchange for allowing sand mining in a protected crocodile sanctuary.
On many occasion Sharma had denounced illegal sand mining exploitation where police were themselves involved. As a result he had received regular death threats from the police. Despite the fact that he had reported these threats to the local authorities they took no action to protect him.
Sathyanarayan Sharma, president of the Press Club of Bhind, described Sharma as a “brave journalist” who was “facing threats from a police officer whom he had exposed a few months ago”, according to a Times of India report.