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Journalists take out second march, say CPM hijacked first

The march on Friday was organised by the Agartala Press Club and the one held a day after was by seven journalist organisations

Written by Samudra Gupta Kashyap | Agartala |
September 25, 2017 2:14:07 am
shantanu bhowmick, journalist killed northeast, tripura journalist killed, cpim, journalist march agartala, indian express CPI(M) cadres leading TV journalist Shantanu’s last journey with party flags at Jirania on Friday. Abhisek Saha

Journalists in Agartala took out a second march in memory of their slain peer Shantanu Bhowmick on Saturday after some of them complained that the first protest on Friday had more faces from the CPI(M) than of mediapersons. The march on Friday was organised by the Agartala Press Club and the one held a day after was by seven journalist organisations —the Tripura Journalists’ Union, Tripura Newspaper Society, Tripura Working Journalists’ Association, Tripura Photo Journalists’ Association, Tripura News Correspondents’ Forum, Tripura Electronic Media Society and the Kokborok Media Forum.

“It was not just that journalists were simply outnumbered by CPI(M) supporters in the silent march on Friday. The banners and festoons prepared by the Agartala Press Club clearly blamed the Indigenous People’s Front of Tripura (IPFT) for the murder of Bhowmick,” said journalist Subal Kumar Dey, who is the editor of Syandan Patrika. Dey is also president of the Tripura Newspaper Society.

Dey made the allegation at a press conference organised by the seven media organisations which also want a CBI probe. “How could the Agartala Press Club banners hold the IPFT responsible for the murder when the probe is still on? It appears to be a case of a party hijacking the protest,” he said.

Pranab Sarkar, general secretary of the Tripura Working Journalists’ Association (TWJA), said that on Friday “several senior CPI(M) leaders such as MPs Shankar Prasad Datta and Jharna Das Baidya, Agartala mayor Prafullajit Sinha, DYFI state secretary Amal Chakraborty, and SFI state secretary Nabarun Deb were among hundreds of party members who outnumbered journalists in the silent procession.”

Bhowmick, a local cable channel journalist and a member of the CPI(M), was murdered on September 20 while covering a political clash between the IPFT, which wants a separate state, and the Tripura Rajaer Upajati Ganamukti Parishad.

CPI(M) spokesman Gautam Das said only owners of some BJP-backed newspapers made such allegations. “Absolutely false. The Agartala Press Club called that rally and various sections of citizens including university and college teachers, students and writers and two MPs expressed solidarity. Only BJP-supported newspaper owners are complaining about the so-called hijack,” he said on Sunday.

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