CMs remark, media protests wearing black ribbons
Apurba dey, Agartala,: Soon after the criticism of Tripura CM Biplob Kumar Deb’s ‘won’t forgive’ remark by a journalist, the minister has allegedly publicly threatened the media for publishing stories on the alleged mismanagement to tackle corona crisis by BJP government.
Parashar Biswas, a news correspondent with a Bengali daily in Tripura, who was infected with covid had posted a video on face book expressing his anger over the state’s medical infrastructure and criticising Mr Deb for allegedly threatening journalists. He even asked the CM on his post to refrain from making such threats.
While returning home in Ambassa on the day of his release from hospital, a group of miscreants entered his house and attacked him fiercely.
Since then, a series of small-scale attacks on journalists have taken place across the state by some extremist supporters of the ruling party, especially those involved in various corruptions and whose identity has been leaked to the media or are in danger of being exposed. They have been moved by the state’s supremo’s remarks.
Three major incidents of harassment have come into limelight and four people have been reported injured.
This led to a strong reaction in the journalist community and across the state.
During the foundation-stone laying ceremony of a Special Economic Zone last month at Sabroom in South Tripura, Deb said that the state government has taken necessary steps to address the situation, adding that, “everything is fine. But some of the news outlets have become very enthusiastic and are writing back and forth. People of Tripura will not forgive them, and I Biplab Deb will not forgive them. I do whatever I say, history is testimony to that,” Deb was quoted as saying by news agency.
However, the state government’s role in dealing with the pandemic has come to the notice of the Tripura High Court as well. The body has recently asked for an answer from the government about its ways of combating the corona crisis.
Similar to such incident, another journalist Biswajit Roy was also attacked and tortured and his camera was snatched and broken on September 23 at a hospital in Teliamura.
Additionally, the third attack took place in the southern district of Belonia in Tripura where two journalists named Sameer Debnath and Sumon Nag were seriously injured by the BJP workers.
Journalists have been protested and condemned by various organizations and Agartala Press Club since then. However, no case has been registered so far.
Various journalists’ organisations have called on the chief minister to retract his statement within a week. However, the Chief Minister ignored this demand pressed by the media. Although many journalists have even approached the governor, Ramesh Bais to discuss over the matter, they still stare at an uncertain situation.
Few journalists gathered at the Agartala Press Club on Friday to protest against Deb’s threatening remark to the press by wearing black ribbons.
On the birth anniversary of Mahatma Gandhi, the Journalist fraternity called for this non-violent democratic movement.
Journalists from various north eastern states and other parts of the country have already protested against the chief minister’s statement and his attitude of non-withdrawal.
Speaking on behalf of the Assembly of Journalists, Jayant Bhattacharya said that the media has been independent since its inception. Journalists cannot be insulted and that they are accountable to people. The movement will continue untill the Chief Minister withdraws his statement.
Considering the scenario as grim, Subal Kumar Dey, chairman of the Assembly of Journalists said “the administration was now cooperating with journalists. If the government’s shortcomings are exposed the newspapers, a case will be being filed. So we want a healthy system of governance, where we can speak freely and protest against injustice.
Tripura has the highest covid-19 death rate in the region, according to the latest data published by the Union Ministry of Health and Welfare.