Vandalised motorbike in Khayerpur on Sunday Credit: EastMojo Image

Agartala: Two journalists were assaulted by a group of miscreants when they were covering the clash between the BJP and CPIM party workers that erupted after the house of former deputy speaker and senior Pabitra Kar came under attack in Khayerpur, around 10 km away from Agartala on Sunday.

Left-wing organisations organised a meeting at the residence of Pabitra Kar when a group of BJP supporters, backed by the Mandal president, attacked the meeting, Kar alleged.

Speaking with reporters, Kar said that three leaders of the party namely—local committee leader Sadaranjan Deb, Ratan Das and Pinak Das—were badly injured after being attacked by the BJP supporters.

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“We informed the police officials and the fire service to rescue the injured party members. Our boys were also ‘forced to retaliate’ against the BJP supporters in self-defence,” Kar said.

He also said Sadaranjan was referred to Kolkata with a serious head injury, while the condition of two other workers remained critical. He added that at least 10 houses were vandalised, and three houses were set on fire in the presence of the police.

BJP spokesperson Nabendu Bhattacharjee said that the people of Tripura know that during the Left regime, mafia raj was established significantly in Khayerpur assembly constituency. “Many involved in mafia raj activities fled away from the state, some are facing trial, while many have changed their nature. Now, the CPIM is reviving their activities of terrorising people by attacking another BJP worker near former CPIM MLA Pabitra Kar’s house,” Bhattacharjee said.

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Following the clash, the Tripura police deployed security forces to bring back normalcy in the area. During the clash, several two-wheelers and vehicles of both the party workers were vandalised.

Following the assault over journalists, the Assembly of Journalists (AoJ) – a media rights body, said the incident occurred when journalists tried to cover a clash between the two rival political parties centring a meeting on Sunday afternoon.

“Two journalists faced attack by a group of 8 miscreants while they were covering the incident. A complaint has been filed with the Bodhjungnagar police station by senior photojournalists Prangopal Acharjee informing that he was threatened with dire consequences and the miscreants tried to snatch their cameras,” AoJ general secretary Sanit Debroy said in a press statement.

Earlier, CM Biplab Kumar Deb received flak after he threatened what he termed, ‘some of the overexcited’ newspapers for allegedly creating confusion over the COVID-19 situation in the state. Deb was speaking at the inaugural ceremony of the special economic zone (SEZ) at Sabroom when he said that some newspapers were trying to confuse people of Tripura and said he would not ‘forgive them’.

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“This is a disaster; this is a crisis. It is not that everything done would be good during a crisis. I am responsible for every person of the state, irrespective of their post and profession. I have said that if people of Tripura are misled, then I would not forgive them as a guardian of the state,” Deb said.

Speaking with reporters, New Capital Complex (NCC) sub-divisional police officer (SDPO) Priya Madhuri Majumder said that two journalist were allegedly assaulted in Khayerpur during the clash between the CPIM and BJP supporters.

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“We have received three complaints, including one from journalists based on which FIRs have been registered. No journalists have sustained injuries. We are investigating the matter,” Majumder said.

Meanwhile, while the journalists were being attacked by a group of miscreants in Khayerpur, Tripura chief minister Biplab Kumar Deb was attending the 1st state conference of the Forum for Development and Protection of Media Community (FDPMC) in Agartala, where he spoke about the safety and independence of the media persons.

Deb also announced health insurance to the media person and their families under Ayushman Tripura scheme and said that the state would bear the medical expenditure up to Rs 5 lakh.

He further announced that 300 additional press jackets would be distributed in addition to the jackets distributed in the first phase earlier this year.

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