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Tripura journalists seek PM Modi, Amit Shah’s intervention on CM’s ‘open threat’ to media

The journalists' body claimed that the 'unwarranted and unexpected threat' and 'use of muscle power to gag the press' were followed by assaults on journalists who 'refused to toe the line of Shri Biplab Kumar Deb led government'.

Written by Debraj Deb | Agartala | Updated: October 7, 2020 12:30:04 pm
Biplab Kumar Deb remark on journalists, Biplab Kumar Deb threat to tripura journalists, tripura journalists protest, narendra modi, amit shah, tripura newsPrime Minister Narendra Modi and Home Minister Amit Shah. Express file photo

The Tripura Assembly of Journalists {TAJ), a forum for protection of media rights here, has written to Prime Minister Narendra Modi, Home Minister Amit Shah and the Press Council of India (PCI) on the attacks against six journalists, which they claimed took place ever since Chief Minister Biplab Kumar Deb’s remarks against the media last month.

Speaking at the inaugural ceremony of Tripura’s first Special Economic Zone (SEZ) at Sabroom on September 11, Deb had said that a section of ‘over-excited newspapers are trying to confuse people over Covid-19’ and that he would not forgive such newspapers ever.

The letter to Modi, Shah and PCI said that despite several complaints, there was no progress in the investigation into the assault of the six journalists.

“The media in the state has been through avery dark phases of poor governance; it was targeted as the enemy of the state. Even during the Emergency in the ’70s, the media didn’t face such a demoralizing situation. The attacks on journalists and the creation of undue pressure on the media are completely undemocratic”, TAJ convener Sekhar Dutta and chairman Subal Kumar Dey said in a press statement today.

The journalists’ body claimed that the ‘unwarranted and unexpected threat’ and ‘use of muscle power to gag the press’ were followed by assaults on journalists who ‘refused to toe the line of Shri Biplab Kumar Deb led government’.

Earlier, the journalists had had served a three-day deadline to the Deb for withdrawing his comments. As the deadline expired, the chief minister didn’t retract his comments but went soft, saying he didn’t mean to threaten anyone in his speech.

On Gandhi Jayanti, a group of journalists donned black ribbons as a mark of protest over the comments and the chief minister’s alleged assault on freedom of expression.

Two journalists – Santanu Bhowmik and Sudip Dutta Bhowmik – were killed in Tripura during the Left regime in 2017. The cases, which appeared to be one of the crucial poll issues in 2018, were later handed over to the CBI after the BJP-led government came to power. However, there hasn’t been a breakthrough in the cases yet.

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