Press Council takes suo-moto cognizance of Tripura scribe's killing

Press Council takes suo-moto cognizance of Tripura scribe

The Press Council of India (PCI) has taken suo-moto cognizance on the killing of a journalist by a Tripura State Rifles (TSR) trooper and sought a...

Agartala: The Press Council of India (PCI) has taken suo-moto cognizance on the killing of a journalist by a Tripura State Rifles (TSR) trooper and sought a report from the Tripura government, an official said here on Friday.

"The PCI has taken up a suo-moto cognizance on the killing of journalist Sudip Datta Bhowmik by a TSR trooper on Tuesday. The council has asked the Chief Secretary Sanjeev Ranjan to submit a report on the killing of the journalist," an official of the state home department said.

He said: "The PCI is likely to send its official or a team to Tripura to gather inputs and to study the cause and circumstances of the incident."

Demanding a Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) probe into the murder of the journalist, several journalist organisations on Thursday formed a new body -- Forum For Protection of Journalists (FFPJ) -- to spearhead the agitation against the killing.

The FFPJ would hold a protest rally on Saturday demanding a CBI probe.

FFPJ convenor Pranab Sarkar said a memorandum would be sent to President Ram Nath Kovind demanding a CBI probe into the killing of the journalist and protection of media persons.

According to police, TSR Second Battalion Rifleman Nandu Kumar Reang, following an altercation, gunned down Sudip Datta Bhowmik, 50, at Radha Kishore Nagar, 25 km from Agartala, on Tuesday.

Reang was the bodyguard of Second Battalion Commandant Tapan Debbarma. The slain journalist had gone to meet Debbarma at the battalion headquarters.

Police have arrested both the trooper and the Commandant. Both are now in police custody for 10 days and senior police officers are questioning them.

The state government, which has handed over the case to the Criminal Investigation Department (CID), also constituted a four-member Special Investigation Team (SIT) to probe the incident.

Bhowmik, who was a reporter with "Syandan Patrika" and television channel "Vanguard", is survived by his wife, a government teacher, and two children.

Numerous theories and claims have surfaced regarding the reason behind the journalist's killing, the second incident involving a media man in the state.

Earlier, 28-year-old TV reporter Santanu Bhowmik was hacked to death while covering an event of a tribal party at Mandai in western Tripura on September 20.

"Syandan Patrika" editor and Tripura Newspaper Society President Subal Kumar Dey alleged his reporter was targeted by the commandant as the former had written many stories against him in the newspaper.

"It was a pre-planned cold-blooded assassination and they tried to hide the body to destroy evidence. Bhowmik was killed as he had exposed the TSR commandant's illegal acts," Dey told the media.

Police, however, claim Bhowmik had stolen an envelope containing a huge amount of money or some confidential documents from Debbarma's table while the latter was in the toilet after their meeting in the office chamber.

Tripura Governor Tathagata Roy, who is now in Delhi, has said he will submit a report to Union Home Minister Rajnath Singh on Bhowmik's killing.

The ruling Communist Party of India-Marxist has criticised the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) for politicising the journalist's killing.

The Congress has demanded a high-level inquiry into the murder. The BJP has demanded the resignation of Chief Minister Manik Sarkar, who also holds the Home portfolio.

Various journalists organisations in the northeast including the Tripura Working Journalists Association, Tripura Journalists Union (TJU) and the Agartala Press Club have also denounced the killing and demanded a probe.

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