A 42-year-old journalist working with a Hindi news channel was was beaten up before he was killed inside the village head’s residence, which was just 700 metres from his own house on Monday evening.

Police said the victim, Ratan Singh, was allegedly beaten up before he was shot inside the village head’s residence, which is just 700 metres from the victim’s house.

Three villagers, all distant relatives of Ratan, have been detained for questioning.

‘We are trying to find why the victim went to the pradhan’s house. It is suspected that the victim was beaten up before being shot. Village pradhan Seema Singh’s husband, Jhabhar Singh, is currently absconding,’ said Circle Officer (Fefna) Chandrakesh Singh, adding that the victim’s family is yet to file a complaint.

‘We are yet to find out the nature of the dispute between Ratan Singh and the accused,’ said the CO.

Police suspect that the incident occurred over an old dispute in the pradhan’s family.

According to the Circle Officer, the local police were informed that a man was shot dead at Khetna village and his body was lying on the premises of the village pradhan’s residence. ‘A police team rushed to the spot and seized the body. During the preliminary inquiry, we came to know that the journalist had left his home for some work in the evening,’ said the Circle Officer.

Police are looking into the role of Ratan Singh’s relative, Dinesh Singh, in the case. He worked with news channel, police said quoting his family.

‘Ratan Singh had an old dispute with his relatives. Three persons have been immediately taken into custody. The incident has nothing to do with journalism,’ Ballia police tweeted.

ADG (Law & Order) Prashant Kumar also said that as per his information Ratan Singh was having a dispute with his neighbours. ‘Today evening, a clash took place between them and during the scuffle, he was shot,’ he added.

Meanwhile, journalists and a group of people protested in Ballia, demanding the arrest of the accused.