South Asians for Human Rights

Promoting Democracy, Upholding Human Rights

The Forum for Protection of Journalists (FFPJ) on Tuesday staged a protest at the Press Club of India in the national capital demanding a CBI probe into the murder of two Tripura journalists.

FFPJ Convener Pranab Sarkar told IANS over phone from Delhi that an eight-member delegation of the forum led by veteran editor Subal Kumar Dey on Tuesday also met President Ram Nath Kovind, Home Minister Rajnath Singh and Press Council of India Secretary Vibha Bhargava to press for their demand.

According to Sarkar, the FFPJ also lodged a complaint with the National Human Rights Commission over the killing of two Tripura Journalists.

Sarkar said the FFPJ, supported by a section of Delhi-based journalists, held demonstrations in front of the Press Club of India to press the demand for a probe into the killings by the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI).

“Both the President and Home Minister assured us that they would take suitable steps to the killings. We have also urged both the President and Home Minister that the government should take suitable steps for the protection of the journalists,” Sarkar added.

“The Home Minister has asked the Home Secretary Rajiv Gauba to take appropriate steps on the issue,” he stated.

The FFPJ delegation also met Union Minister of State in the Prime Minister’s Office Jitendra Singh on Monday to demand a CBI probe into the murder of two journalists from the state.

“After a series of agitations in Tripura, we came to the national capital to press for our demand to protect the media persons in Tripura,” Sarkar added.

A local newspaper journalist Sudip Dutta Bhowmik, 50, was shot dead inside the Tripura State Rifles (TSR) 2nd battalion headquarters at Ramchandra Nagar in West Tripura district on November 21.

Young television journalist Santanu Bhowmik, 28, was hacked to death while he was covering protests of a tribal based political party at Mandai, 25 km from Agartala, on September 20.

PCI Chairman Justice Chandramauli Kumar Prasad, who took suo motu cognizance of the journalists’ murder, has arrived in Agartala for an on-the-spot study of the murders.

To probe the killings, the state government had earlier constituted two separate Special Investigation Teams (SIT) headed by Deputy Inspector General of Police Arindam Nath and Inspector General of Police (IGP) G.S. Rao.

The SIT, led by Nath, has so far arrested four TSR personnel, including TSR second battalion Commandant Tapan Debbarma, who is a senior Tripura Police Service (TPS) officer (1998 batch) and waiting for IPS nomination.

In the Bhowmik murder case too, the SIT led by IGP Rao arrested four youths.

The Congress has demanded a high-level inquiry into the murder. The Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) has demanded a CBI probe and resignation of Chief Minister Manik Sarkar, who also holds the Home portfolio.

Both parties observed a state-wide shutdown on November 23 to protest the killings.

The ruling Communist Party of India-Marxist (CPI-M) has criticised the BJP for politicising the journalist’s killing.

“State government is on the right track in probing the unfortunate killings,” CPI-M central committee member Gautam Das told the media. – IANS

Updated On:  05 Dec 2017