Tripura Journalist Killed While Covering Clash Between Parties
Local media persons held protests outside Tripura Chief Minister Manik Sarkar’s residence after television journalist Santanu Bhaumik was reportedly killed while covering a roadblock by a tribal party – Indigenous People’s Forum of Tripura – in Mandai Tehsil, on 20 September. Internet data services have since been suspended in Agartala.
Bhaumik was working for a local cable channel ‘Din Raat’.
A political clash had reportedly broken out between CPI(M)'s tribal wing Tripura Rajaer Upajati Ganamukti Parishad and IPFT workers, when Bhaumik was suddenly attacked with sharp weapons.
Four IPFT members were arrested after the incident, Deputy Inspector General of Police Arindam Nath told IANS.
Attackers Were IPFT Activists: CPI(M)
CPI(M) has claimed the attackers were IPFT activists. Section 144 was imposed in more than 10 places of West Tripura and Khowai districts, including Mandai, IANS reported.
A police official told IANS that the IFPT members killed Bhaumik during the melee. His body was brought to the government-run Govind Ballabh Pant Medical College and Hospital.
Foundation of Media Professionals Condemns Attack
The Foundation of Media Professionals on 20 September condemned the ‘murder’ of Bhowmik.
Northeast India has long been a zone of impunity where various militant groups have threatened, attacked, and often killed journalists trying to do their jobs. Even political parties and security forces are known to intimidate journalists in the many conflict zones that dot the region. We call upon all groups to ensure safety of mediapersons going about their jobs.The Foundation of Media Professionals, in a statement
Violent Attacks Across State in the Past
This incident was a culmination of the series of violent attacks across the state on 19 September, where several TRUGP members were injured by IFPT members.
The IPFT and the Twipraland State Party have been in conflict over upgrading the existing Tripura Tribal Areas Autonomous District Council to a separate tribal state.
Editors Guild of India Condemns Bhowmik’s Death
Media collectives, including the Editors Guild of India, condemned the killing of Tripura journalist Santanu Bhowmick on Thursday, saying it was a "reckless" and "inhuman" act to silence the voice of the free press.
In a statement, the Guild observed that there is a growing pattern to the attacks on journalists, who are increasingly becoming "easy targets" because of lax law enforcement agencies.
The Guild demanded that Tripura Chief Minister Manik Sarkar bring the assailants who hacked Bhowmick to death to justice and take adequate precautions to ensure that such attacks on journalists do not occur in future in the state.
The Press Club of India, Indian Women's Press Corps, Press Association, Federation of Press Clubs in India and the North East Media Forum issued a joint statement demanding a swift probe into the incident.
(With inputs from PTI)
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