A journalist working for a local television channel was allegedly killed in an attack by tribal party cadres in Tripura on Wednesday.
Santanu Bhowmik, who worked with channel Din Raat was covering a road blockade called by the IPFT at Mandai, which is about 25 km from Agartala. The journalist was allegedly hit from behind and abducted. He was found by the police in a critical state with stab wounds and rushed to a government hospital in Agartala, where he was declared brought dead.
Police said that agitated members of Indigenous People's Front of Tripura (IPFT) and CPI-M's tribal wing Tripura Rajaer Upajati Ganamukti Parishad (TRUGP) gathered at Mandai in western Tripura after Tuesday's series of violent attacks across the state.
Since Tuesday, prohibitory orders under Section 144 of the Code of Criminal Procedure (CrPC) were promulgated in more than 10 places of West Tripura and Khowai districts, including Mandai.
"Police resorted to lathicharge and dispersed the mob in Mandai as they assembled there violating the prohibitory orders. The IPFT members killed journalist Shantanu Bhowmik, during the melee. Police later recovered his body and brought it to government-run Govind Ballabh Pant Medical College and Hospital," a police official said.
In a joint statement, the Press Club of India, Indian Women’s Press Corps, Press Association, Federation of Press Clubs In India and North East Media Forum, condemned the attack on Santanu.
Read the full statement here:
We are shocked to learn about the brutal murder of a young television journalist Santanu Bhowmik near Agartala in Tripura on Wednesday.
We strongly condemn the murderous assault on Santanu Bhowmik, 27, allegedly by the members of the Indigenous People's Front of Tripura (IPFT). According to news reports, the journalist was attacked with sharp cutting weapons while covering a road blockade agitation of the IPFT.
Santanu Bhowmik's life was taken away by mindless violence when he was discharging his professional journalistic duties. It is a reckless, inhuman act to silence the voice of the free press in the country and an assault on the freedom of press.
We demand an impartial and swift probe into the murder of the young Tripura journalist so that culprits can be booked and brought to justice. We also express our solidarity and support to the Tripura Journalists' Union in their protest against the murder. We demand that the State Government should give adequate compensation to the family of the young journalist whose life was sniffed out in the line of duty. The Chief Minister should immediately hold consultations with the Agartala Press Club and Tripura Journalists' Union for taking steps for safety and security of the journalists.
A condolence and protest meeting will be held at the Press Club of India on Friday, Sept. 22 i the afternoon.
President, Press Club of India
Secretary-General, Press Club of India
General Secretary, Indian Women's Press Corps
President, Press Association
Deputy Inspector General of Police Arindam Nath later told IANS that police subsequently arrested four IPFT members from the spot, 35 km north of here.
Wednesday's incident at Mandai was an upshot of Tuesday's series of violent attacks across the state.
On Tuesday, over 60 members of TRUGP were injured in separate attacks allegedly by rival IPFT cadres at 12 places in Tripura.
The injured also included women and a police official. Of the 60 injured, 11 TRUGP members were seriously wounded and were admitted to the government-run medical college and hospital here.
TRUGP President Jitendra Chowdhury said: "The IPFT members attacked the TRUGP men and women when the latter were coming in vehicles to Agartala from different places in Tripura to attend a party rally here."
The IPFT cadres also burnt down at least two buses in which the TRUGP men were travelling, though no one was injured.
The TRUGP rally was addressed by Chief Minister and CPI-M politburo member Manik Sarkar, party President and Lok Sabha member Jitendra Chowdhury, and Tripura Tribal Areas Autonomous District Council (TTAADC) Chief Executive member Radha Charan Debbarma, among other leaders.
The IPFT and the Twipraland State Party have been agitating for upgrading the existing TTAADC to a separate tribal state.
(With IANS inputs)