A journalist was on Saturday night brutally beaten by miscreants — suspected to be local BJP supporters — in Ambasha of central Tripura’s Dhalai district after he had criticised the Chief Minister Biplab Deb over his recent comments against media people.
Tripura Assembly of Journalists, the state’s association of media people, attributed this incident to a recent derailment of the state’s COVID crisis to a rather murky track after an apparent “feud” between the incumbent government and its supporters with the media people had begun over the latter’s criticism of the state’s management regarding the disease.
It began with the Chief Minister saying on a public platform in Sabroom town of South Tripura last Friday that he won’t “forgive” a section of media because of their role in reporting the state’s COVID scenario.
The journalist, Parashar Biswas, a local correspondent for a Bengali newspaper Syadin Patrika, had criticised the Chief Minister for his remarks to the media people over a Facebook live from his account.
“If the CM continues making such remarks, I will continue criticising him over Facebook and other social platforms because he had hurt the profession that brings food to my table. BJP may rule for more 10-15 years in Tripura but, his (CM’s) days in power are numbered,” Biswas, who claims to be in the profession over 17 years, said in the live session on Saturday. His session had received numerous threats in the comments section.
He streamed the live session from the Ambasa COVID Care Centre where he was undergoing treatment for the disease over the past 10 days. On Saturday night, he was released.
Hours after he reached home, a group of about 8-10 armed miscreants barged into his residence at around 15 minutes past Saturday midnight and beat him blue.
“The miscreants, however, left before Biswas’s neighbours reached hearing his scream. But, we suspect those to be supporters of BJP,” a neighbour told.
Biswas was rushed to the local hospital, however, it is being mulled to take him to GBP in state capital Agartala for better treatment.
“He had suffered serious injuries in his pelvic bones and also to the spine. There are numerous marks on his body indicating he had received serious blunt force traumas. There are marks on his face but, we can’t tell if he had incurred any internal injuries yet,” a source in the hospital said.
Tripura Additional Director General of Police Rajiv Singh said, “Biswas had filed a complaint on Sunday and a case has been registered in Ambasa police station. He could not recognise any of his attackers but, the police is conducting its probe.”
Meanwhile, Tripura Assembly of Journalist, that had also criticised the incumbent government of trying to “stifle the voice of media” after CM’s remark, had on Sunday decided to write to the state’s Governor and the various national journalistic associations regarding the same.
“The state government is not stifling the voice of media but also is attempting to terrorise the media people from questioning the government which we cannot allow happening,” Subal Kumar Dey, president of the Association and editor of the newspaper for which, Biswas works.
“There is a conspiracy behind the attack because, even after Biswas was beaten, police were called immediately, but they did not respond. People then had to take him to the hospital by calling in the Fire Services,” Dey said.
The incumbent BJP-led government had drawn serious flak, mostly from the media fraternity, after the State’s COVID fatality rate touched 1 per cent, highest in the northeast with a second-lowest recovery rate of 59.4 per cent after Meghalaya.
Recently the Tripura High Court also took cognizance of a Suo Moto PIL based on the newspaper reports and the Court’s own observation regarding the state’s COVID management and sought reports within September 18.