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INS condemns killing of Tripura scribe

24 November 2017

The President of the Indian Newspaper Society (INS), Akila Urankar has condemned the murder of Sudip Datta Bhaumik, a journalist working with Syandan Patrika, on 21 November 2017 near Agartala, Tripura while he was discharging his professional duties.

newspaper A Tripura newspaper with a blank editorial space

Urankar said the killing of a defenceless journalist, allegedly by a member of the state police, is a very serious matter. “This is the second murder of a journalist in Tripura within two months and has given rise to great insecurity within the journalistic fraternity,” Urankar added.

INS has demanded that the government of Tripura ensures exemplary punishment to the guilty. At the same time, it has asked that a mechanism be put in place to ensure that journalists are able to discharge their duties without fear of violence.

The 48-year-old journalist was allegedly gunned down inside the headquarters of the 2nd battalion of the TSR at RK Nagar, Agartala.

Meanwhile, newspapers in Tripura protested the killing by running blank editorials on the next day’s issue. Tripura journalists also expressed their disappointment with national media for showing ‘lack of interest’ in the killing of journalists in the northeast.

On 20 September 2017, another journalist Santanu Bhowmick was killed at Mandai in West Tripura district when he went to cover an agitation by the Indigenous Peoples Front of Tripura (IPFT).

TSR constable Nandalal Reang, who allegedly shot at the journalist, was arrested immediately and the commandant of the 2nd battalion of the TSR, Tapan Debbarma, was also arrested for conspiring to kill the scribe. Both were sent to police custody for ten days. Editor of Syandan Patrika, Subal Kumar Dey alleged that Datta Bhaumick was killed because he had exposed the many misdeeds and corruption by Commandant Debbarma.

“The killing of Sudip didn’t get prominent coverage by the national media. Except for some small news items, they ignored the heinous crime. Had it happened in major cities, it would have got wider publicity by both national print and electronic media,” Sujit Chakraborty, eminent journalist and ex-secretary of Agartala Press Club, said. (with the help of agencies)

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