Section 144 was imposed in two districts of Tripura on Thursday, a day after a television journalist was beaten to death while on an assignment to cover the clashes between the Indigenous People’s Front of Tripura (IPFT) and the Tripura Rajaer Upajati Ganamukti Parishad (TRUGP) in Mandai, in West Tripura. Despite police resorting to lathi charge to disperse the crowds, Shantanu Bhowmik, 28, was reportedly attacked and killed.
On Wednesday night, hours after the incident, journalists staged a protest outside Chief Minister Manik Sarkar’s residence. The Tripura Journalists’ Union (TJU) is demanding a CBI inquiry into the incident. The Tripura Police on Wednesday had arrested four members of the IPFT in connection with the murder.
Shantanu Bhowmik (27), who worked for pro-Left Deen Raat TV, had gone to tribal-dominated Mandwai in West Tripura to cover a clash between IPFT and CPM supporters. “Bhowmik was attacked between Mandwai and Jirania, which is about 30 km from Agartala,” police said.
Locals said IPFT supporters called Bhowmik a “CPM activist working against their party” while they assaulted him and his camera person who managed to escape and report the incident to police at Jirania. CPM workers took Bhowmik to Agartala Government Medical College and Hospital, where he died. Bhowmik was reportedly hit with sharp-edged weapons. Bhowmik and his camera person reportedly had footage of IPFT supporters attacking the CPM office at Mandwai.