'Aajkaal' correspondent 'attacked' in Tripura; journalists' forum condemns act
Senior journalist Samir Dhar (right) with his wife Piyali Choudhuri Dhar | File image

Agartala: In yet another incident of violence against journalists in Tripura, the residence of Samir Dhar, a correspondent of Aajkaal newspaper, reportedly came under attack by a group of miscreants.

The incident happened at Sripally area of Badharghat in southern Agartala on Saturday night. Aajkaal is a West Bengal-based Bengali newspaper.

Meanwhile, the Assembly of Journalists (AoJ), a forum for the protection of journalists in Tripura, has condemned the incident. According to AoJ, Dhar has been attacked three times since 2018.

“The miscreants, said to be supporters of the ruling party in the area, came on motorcycles around 9 pm with sharp weapons and carried out the attack. They also used obscene language against the senior journalist,” AoJ said.

Expressing strong displeasure and outrage against the attacks on media persons across the state, the AoJ demanded immediate arrest of the perpetrators.

“The matter has also been brought to the notice of the state police chief on behalf of AoJ. Such attacks have gained momentum in the state after chief minister Biplab Kumar Deb ‘threatened’ the media at a public meeting on September 11 last year,” the AoJ said in a press statement.

The forum also said that it has been noticed that the attack is happening as the chief minister has been adamant on his statemen against the media.

A delegation from AoJ including Jayant Debnath and Anal Roy Chowdhury, along with general secretary Sanit Deb Roy and vice-president Arun Nath, visited Dhar’s residence on Sunday to inquire about the incident.

“Although a written complaint was lodged with the Amtali police station, there was no news of the arrest of the accused till Sunday evening,” the press statement added.

Also read: Tripura CM launches scheme for children who lost parents to COVID-19

Meanwhile, speaking with reporters, Dhar said that his residence along with some other neighbours came under attack by a group of miscreants on Saturday night.

“Since the change in government in 2018, my residence has faced such attacks thrice. The miscreants on Saturday night tried to enter my residence but couldn’t succeed. However, they vandalised the boundary walls and threatened me with dire consequences,” Dhar said.

Dhar also said that, not only his residence but some of those of his neighbours also faced similar attacks by miscreants. “I have filed a written complaint in this regard. The police visited my house today (Monday) and informed us that an inquiry has begun in this regard,” Dhar said.

Dhar is the younger brother of Bijan Dhar, who is the convenor of the Left Front in Tripura. Journalist Samir Dhar’s wife, Piyali Choudhuri Dhar, is one of the 10,323 terminated teachers and leader of the Joint Movement Committee (JMC), which has been demanding alternative jobs for the affected teachers.

Speaking with EastMojo, Samrat Choudhury, media secretary of AoJ, said that so far, 28 journalists have come under attack across the state since the chief minister made the public statement against the media while addressing a public event in Sabroom.

CPIM state secretary Goutam Das said that the governor of Tripura, while meeting with a delegation of the party on May 12, had assured that no political violence will take place. “But we have seen that the ruling BJP-backed political vendetta has continued,” he added.

“In the last two days in the southern part of Agartala, a series of attacks has been carried out across Badharghat assembly constituency. At least six families were attacked in which five members were injured. These includes a police official who was standing outside his residence. A senior journalist has faced an attack,” Das said.

Reacting on the incident, BJP state spokesperson Nabendu Bhattacharya said that the party does not believe in political violence and since the BJP-IPFT came to power no political murder has taken place in the state.

“The party has never backed any political vendetta and there are instances when the BJP’s members were also arrested for indulging in political violence. We will not tolerate political violence in the state. The police has free hand to work and they will do the needful to nab the culprits,” Bhattachrya said.

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