Guwahati, September 21: Shantanu Bhowmik, a 29 year old Television scribe from Tripura, who was associated with a local news channel “Din Raat”, faced 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 September 20.
A seriously injured Shantanu was taken to a government hospital, but the attending doctors declared him brought dead. He was also allegedly abducted by a mob.
Expressing shock at the brutal murder of the young television scribe, the Journalists’ Forum Assam (JFA) has demanded a high level probe into the incident and urges the Manik Sarkar led Left government in Agartala to book the culprits under the law. The forum also reiterated its old demand for a special protection law for scribes on duty.
It must be noted that Shantanu has become the seventh Indian journalist victim this year after the murder of Bengaluru based editor-journalist and social activist Gauri Lankesh, 55, on September 5. Prior to her, Haryana based Television journalist Surender Singh Rana, 35, was shot dead on July 29. The other victims include Kamlesh Jain, 42, of Madhya Pradesh (killed on May 31), Shyam Sharma, 40, also of MP (killed on May 15), Brajesh Kumar Singh, 28, of Bihar (killed on January 3) and Hari Prakash, 31, of Jharkhand (killed on January 2).
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’ murder, where three northeastern media employees also fell victim to the perpetrators.
“The killing of Sujit Bhattacharya (Proof reader), Ranjit Chowdhury (Manager) and Balaram Ghosh (Driver) inside the office premises of Dainik Ganadoot in Agartala broke as sensational news as Tripura had no recent record of murder of journalists. Tripura thus repeated its shameful record on journo-murder after three years. Shantanu’s killing on duty hours also reminds the challenge and risks faced by the working journalists of northeast India. We also extend moral support to the agitating journalists of Tripura for their endeavor to justice” said a statement issued by JFA President Rupam Barua and Secretary Nava Thakuria.
It must be noted that Section 144 has been imposed on two districts of Tripura today.