June 7, 2021 3:56:56 pm
A total of 24 cases have been registered across Tripura for attack on journalists since 2020, the police said on Monday.
According to police, charge sheets were filed in 16 of these cases while five are still under investigation. Three other cases were disposed of after the parties involved arrived at a compromise.
“We are committed to provide security to the mediapersons. As there is no separate law for media, we have followed the codified procedure in these cases. Even in cases where the complaints were prima facie found exaggerated, IPC sections were taken in line with the content of the plaint”, said assistant general police (Law and Order) Subrata Chakraborty said.
The Director-General of Police (DGP) VS Yadav held a detailed review meeting with the district superintendents of police through video conference on Saturday and discussed about media reports on attack on scribes and the alleged failure of the police to take action against the attackers.
The discussion revealed that 17 such cases were filed last year and seven in this year.
“We are investigating the cases based on merit and evidence. In some cases where the complainants could not identify the accused persons, police made all-out efforts to identify them,” said Chakraborty.
Media secretary of Assembly of Journalists, Samrat Choudhury, said the number of assaults on journalists is more than 28 and alleged contradiction in the official figures.
“A majority of these cases were booked since chief minister Biplab Kumar Deb’s anti-media remark last year where he said he wouldn’t forgive a section of media for misleading Covid reporting,” he said.
Choudhury also stated that no legal action has been taken on many of these cases yet.
Ruling BJP spokesperson Nabendu Bhattacharya, whilst claiming that the police are doing their duty, also said that the incidents of attacks on journalists should not be encouraged.
Bhattacharya, who was a journalist for nearly two decades before joining politics, also claimed that the attacks on journalists had occurred much more during the Left Front regime.
Opposition CPI(M) and Congress have blamed the incumbent BJP-IPFT government for not taking assaults on media seriously.
“These incidents show intolerance of the ruling party against truthful reporting”, a senior CPI(M) leader said.
He also said copies of Daily Desher Katha, the party’s mouthpiece, were snatched and destroyed in broad daylight at Udaipur a year back, allegedly by ruling BJP supporters.
State Congress vice president Tapas Dey said that attacks on journalists, including the murder of two journalists in the lines of duty, did happen during the Left Front era but claimed that the assaults have increased exponentially since CM Biplab Deb’s comments last year. Anti-social elements are trying to take advantage of the situation, he added.
“It is the CM’s duty to make sure such incidents stop immediately,” Dey said.
Tripura Chief Minister Biplab Kumar Deb is in charge of the Information and Public Affairs (ICA) Department.
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