Expressing shock at the brutal murder of a young television scribe in Tripura, the Journalists’ Forum Assam (JFA) demands a high level probe into the incident and urges the Manik Sarkar led Left government at Agartala to book the culprits under the law. The forum also reiterated its old demand for a special protection law for scribes on duty.
The reports from Agartala narrate that Shantanu Bhowmik, 29, who was associated with a local news channel titled DinRaat, faced the attacks when he went to cover a gory clash between two parties namely Indigenous People’s Front of Tripura (IPFT) and Communist Party of India (Marxist)’s tribal wing Tripura Rajaer Upajati Ganamukti Parishad (TRUGP) at Mandai in west Tripura on 22 September 2017.
Seriously injured Shantanu was taken to a government hospital, but the attending doctors declared him brought dead.
Shantanu becomes the seventh Indian victim-journalist this year after the murder of Bengaluru based editor-journalist and social activists Gauri Lankesh (55) on 5 September last. Prior to her, Haryana based television journalist Surender Singh Rana (35) was shot dead on 29 July.
The other victims include Kamlesh Jain (42) of Madhya Pradesh (killed on 31 May), Shyam Sharma (40) also of MP (killed on 15 May), Brajesh Kumar Singh (28) of Bihar (killed on 3 January) and Hari Prakash (31) of Jharkhand (killed on 2 January).
India lost six journalists to assailants in 2016, which was preceded by five cases in 2015. The populous country witnessed murders of two scribes in 2014, but the year 2013 reported as many as 11 journalists’ murders, where three northeastern media employees also fall victims to the perpetrators.
The killing of Sujit Bhattacharya (proof reader), Ranjit Chowdhury (manager) and Balaram Ghosh (driver) inside the office premises of DainikGanadoot in Agartala broke as sensational news as Tripura had no recent record of journalist-murders.
“Tripura thus repeated its shameful record on journo-murder after three years. Shantanu’s killing on duty hours also reminds the challenge & risks faced by the working journalists of northeast India.
We also extends moral supports to the agitating journalists of Tripura for their endeavor to justice,” said a statement issued by JFA president Rupam Barua and secretary Nava Thakuria.