Journalists’ Forum Assam demands mass COVID-19 screening of all media employees amid a sharp rise in number of cases in the state
Guwahati: Guwahati Press Club and Journalists’ Forum Assam (JFA) have condoled the death of Raantu Das (54), printer-publisher of Assamese daily Asomiya Khabar, who died at a private hospital on Friday.
Das, who was also the director of Frontier Publications Private Limited, which publishes the popular daily newspaper, was a reputed businessman of the city and was associated with the newspaper since its inception.
He is survived by his wife, a son and a daughter apart from a host of relatives and well-wishers.
In a press release, the JFA has expressed shock at the demise of Raantu Das and said, “Das becomes the first victim of novel corona virus infection in Northeast India. Days ago, another printer-publisher of Hindi newspaper Nishpaksha Samachar Jyoti, Prahlad Kumar Agarwal, tested positive for Covid-19. Unconfirmed reports claim that around 10 media persons working in the city lately turned positive for novel corona virus infection.”
According to the JFA press release, Das was admitted to the hospital a few weeks ago with various ailments. According to the doctors, he died of heart failure but later tested positive for COVID-19, it said.
“We reiterate our demand for mass COVID-19 screening of all media employees by the respective managements as early as possible,” said the statement issued by JFA president Rupam Barua and secretary Nava Thakuria, adding that state health minister Himanta Biswa Sarma should support the initiative as an honour to scribes, who are playing the role of COVID-19 warriors by disemminating necessary information in the time of a pandemic.
The JFA release also said that India as a nation has lost three scribes to COVID-19 complications till date. Hyderabad-based journalist Manoj Kumar, who worked for a popular Telugu news channel, Agra-based journalist Pankaj Kulashrestha and Kolkata-based photojournalist Ronny Roy earlier succumbed to COVID-19 infections.