Press associations condemn Tripura scribe's killing, call it 'reckless, inhuman'
New Delhi, September 22: Killing of Tripura journalist Santanu Bhowmick was condemned by media collectives, including the Editors Guild of India, saying it was a "reckless" and "inhuman" act to silence the voice of the free press.
In a statement, the Guild observed that there is a growing pattern to the attacks on journalists, who are increasingly becoming "easy targets" because of lax law enforcement agencies.
The Guild demanded that Tripura Chief Minister Manik Sarkar bring the assailants who hacked Bhowmick to death to justice and take adequate precautions to ensure that such attacks on journalists do not occur in future in the state.
The Press Club of India, Indian Women's Press Corps, Press Association, Federation of Press Clubs in India and the North East Media Forum issued a joint statement demanding a swift probe into the incident.
The South Asia Media Defenders Network (SAMDEN) also condemned the killing and said the issue goes beyond media freedom and involves the right to life.
"Reporters on the field in far-flung areas are particularly vulnerable to such attacks and intimidation," the SAMDEN said.
Bhowmick, who worked with a local television channel, was covering a clash between the IPFT and the Tripura Rajya Upajati Ganamukti Parishad, the tribal wing of the CPI(M), in Mandai area of West Tripura yesterday when he was hit from behind and abducted, a senior police officer had said.
Later, the scribe was found with serious stab injuries and rushed to Agartala Medical College and Hospital where doctors declared him 'brought dead', he said.
"Santanu Bhowmick's life was taken away by mindless violence when he was discharging his professional journalistic duties.
"It is a reckless, inhuman act to silence the voice of the free press in the country and an assault on the freedom of press," the joint statement said.
The fact that Bhowmick's killing came days after the murder of veteran editor Gauri Lankesh in Bengaluru that had sparked widespread outrage and concern on the state of free press in India found mention in all the statements.
"Unfortunately, Bhowmik's killing is not an isolated incident. Only on September 5, Gauri Lankesh, Editor of Gauri Lankesh Patrika, was brutally murdered in front of her house in Bengaluru, Karnataka.
"Meanwhile, there are frequent reports of journalists receiving threat letters or being trolled viciously. There is a growing pattern to these attacks and journalists are increasingly becoming easy targets because of lax law enforcement agencies," the Guild said.
Kerala Union of Working Journalists (KUWJ), Delhi unit, protested at Jantar Mantar here against the killing and the attack on Asianet news bureau at Allappuzha in Kerala.
In a resolution adopted at the protest meet, KUWJ said the growing number of attacks on media persons and institutions points towards the insecurity engulfing the profession.