Journalists’ Forum Assam condemns Bangla scribe’s murder

Guwahati, August 30: Journalists’ Forum Assam (JFA) condemns the murder of a Bangladeshi female journalist and urged the Sheikh Hasina government in Dhaka to book the culprits under the law.
The media rights forum pointed out that as the country has been approaching for the next general elections by end of this year, one may apprehend more such attacks on media persons in the coming days.
It may be noted that a group of unidentified assailants on Tuesday (August 28) night hacked Suborna Nodi to death at her Pabna residence. The thirty crossed journalist used to report for Ananda television news and Dainik Jagrato Bangla paper. She left behind a minor  girl along with other relatives.
Bangladesh earlier reported the killing of Shahzahan Bachchu, who edited Amader Bikrampur newspaper on June 11 at Munshiganj locality.
Bachchu was suspectedly targeted by Islamist forces for his free-thinking media comments. India reported the murder of four journalists (namely Syed Shujaat Bukhari, Sandeep Sharma, Navin Nischal and Vijay Singh)  in the last eight months.
The largest democracy in the globe is placed at 138 out of 180 countries in Reporters Without Borders (Reporters Sans Frontières) 2018 global press freedom index, followed by Pakistan
(139), Thailand (140), Cambodia (142), Malaysia (145), Bangladesh (146).
The 2017 was reported to be a deadliest year for journalists, as the International Federation of Journalists (IFJ) claimed the casualties as high as 82.
India witnessed the murders of Hari Prakash, Brajesh Kumar Singh, Shyam Sharma, Kamlesh Jain, Surender Singh Rana, Gauri Lankesh, Shantanu Bhowmik, KJ Singh, Rajesh Mishra, Sudip Datta Bhaumik, Naveen Gupta and Rajesh Sheoran in the bygone year.
Among those casualties, northeast’s tiny State of Tripura reported two incidents of journo-murder within few weeks. Shantanu Bhowmik, a young television reporter was beaten and stabbed to death during a protest demonstration at Mandai locality of western Tripura.
On the other
hand, Sudip Datta Bhaumik, who used to work for a Bengali newspaper, was shot dead by a Tripura State Rifles constable at RK Nagar locality in the same area.
Both the murders created sensation in northeast India and the then state Chief Minister Manik Sarkar received widespread criticism from various quarters.
Earlier the Communist Chief Minister had to digest brickbats following the murder of three media employees (Sujit Bhattacharya, Ranjit Chowdhury and Balaram Ghosh) in Agartala during 2013.
By now, Tripura has a BJP led government and the new Chief Minister Biplab Kumar Deb, following the saffron party’s poll promises, recently handed over the cases of Shantanu and Sudip to Central Bureau of Investigation for higher probes. Meanwhile, the CBI has booked three tribal leaders namely Dhirendra Debbarma, Balram Debbarma and Amit Debbarma in connection with Santanu’s murder.
It may be mentioned here that Dhirendra is a legislator nominated by Indigenous People’s Front of Tripura, which is an ally to the ruling coalition government in Agartala.
In 2017, Pakistan lost seven journalists namely Muhammad Jan, Taimoor Khan, Abdul Razzaque, Bakshish Ellahi, Haroon Khan, Samar Abbas and Utpal Das along with a novice scribe (Mashal Khan) to assailants. On the other hand, India’s other neighbours namely Bangladesh, Myanmar and Maldives witnessed the murder of one scribe each last year.
“Journalists across the world today face a serious challenge, where the media fraternity in the Indian subcontinent continues pursuing for a pragmatic action plan to safeguard the scribes in the line of military, police and doctors on duty. Our point is very clear, if the nations want them to pursue seriou  journalism, their security along with justice must be ensured” said a JFA statement.
(By Nava Thakuria)

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