Scribe killing: 4 held in Tripura, protest across NE

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HT Bureau

GUWAHATI, Sept 21: At least four activists of the Indigenous People’s Front of Tripura (IPFT) were arrested by police in connection with the murder of Tripura journalist who was beaten to death while on an assignment on Wednesday.

Shantanu Bhowmik was on an assignment to cover clashes between the IPFT and the Tripura Rajaer Ganamukti Parishad (TRUGP) in Mandai, in West Tripura. Subsequently, Section 144 was imposed in two districts of Tripura on Thursday. Despite police resorting to lathicharge to disperse the crowds, Shantanu Bhowmik was reportedly killed and abducted by a mob.

On Wednesday night, hours after the incident, journalists staged a protest outside chief minister Manik Sarkar’s residence demanding the arrest of the perpetrators. The Tripura Journalists’ Union (TJU) has also demanded a CBI inquiry into the incident

A peaceful dawn-to-dusk bandh, called by the ruling CPI (M) in protest against the killing of a local journalist, was observed on Thursday in the Jirania block area of West Tripura district. “Everything was closed. Vehicles did not ply. Financial and educational institutions remained closed. There was no report of any untoward incident,” Tripura West SP Avijit Saptarshi said. The Assam-Agartala NH 44 was, however, exempted from the bandh.

The Shillong Press Club condemned the killing of Tripura journalist Shantanu Bhowmik and said that any attack on the fourth estate should be dealt with strongly. The culprits should be given exemplary punishment, Press Club president DO Laitphlang said.

Expressing shock at the brutal murder of the young journalist, the Journalists’ Forum Assam (JFA) demanded a high level probe into the incident and urged the Manik Sarkar led Left government to book the culprits under the law. The Forum also reiterated its old demand for a special protection law for scribes on duty.

“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,” JFA president Rupam Barua and secretary Nava Thakuria said in a stement here on Thursday.

While the condemning the incident, National Union of Journalist India (NUJI) president Ras Bihari and secretary (east zone) Bhupen Goswami reiterated its demand for Journalidst Protection Act in the country for protection of the journalists. The NUJI also demanded adequate compensation to the family of the victim. Tripura unit NUJI president Prasanta Chakraborty also condemned the incident and and demanded immediate arrest of the culprits involved in the incident.

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