Agartala: After Tripura Chief Minister, Biplab Kumar Deb issued open threat to media for criticizing his Government on its failure to manage Covid-19, the 7th working journalist was assaulted last night at Fatikroy of North Tripura by some construction mafias and an engineer involved in the gang.
The victim journalist, Tapan Banik, working with a local leading daily has allegedly been threatened by the mafias for past two days following publication of news regarding the collapse of a newly built roof of a science laboratory in a school. Tripura Working Journalists association demanded immediate arrest of all the accused involved in the attack.
According to report, Tapan Banik had enquired the details of poor construction from the Engineer Shantanu Bhowmik three days ago but he refused to share details. Within a few minutes the accused contractor, Akash Kar had allegedly called up Tapan and warned him not to pursue the matter considering his future and allegedly reminded the CM’s warning to media on September 11 last at a public programme.
Tapan did not write the news but, somehow, it was published in other newspapers, which made accused Engineer Shantanu and contractor Akash to believe that the news was leaked by the journalist. They had allegedly been threatening him of dire consequence and Tapan also informed the matter to police, but could not lodge complaint, as his entire family was under home quarantine after his parents tested Covid positive.
“A group of miscreants, led by Akash, stormed my house at Fatikroy last night. They entered the house after breaking the gate and assaulted me. My younger brother and wife were injured when they came to rescue me.
My son was also ill-treated by the miscreants and they repeatedly asked me to stop journalism”, Tapan said.
After the CM’s warning to the media, as many as six working journalists were assaulted. Deb had accused a section of the media of being over enthusiast in covering mismanagement of Covid in Tripura to mislead the people. “History shall not forgive them, and people of Tripura will not forgive them. I will not forgive them. History stands witness to the fact that I, Biplab Deb, do what I say”, he warned.
The Assembly of Journalists (AoJ), the apex body of Tripura media has been demanding that the Chief Minister withdraws his warning on journalists and restrain his cadres and direct police to book all the culprits. But he did not respond to the demand yet, rather indirectly insulted the media on different occasions.
“Neither the CM nor his Government has ever asked the criminals to stop attacking the media and condemn such activities, which compel us to believe that the Chief Minister and a section of his party leaders are behind the attacks on journalists who write against the failure of his Government or corruption”, alleged AoJ Chairman and veteran Editor, Subal Kumar Dey.
He said, the assault on the media, at the instance of the Chief Minister, has already been written to Prime Minister Narendra Modi, Home Minister Amit Shah and the Chairman, Press Council of India, seeking appropriate direction to the State Government. AoJ has also launched a state-wide movement seeking assurance of security and safety of journalists and freedom of the media.