Its really shocking, anguishing and disheartening to note that despite so much of national and even international outrage on the despicable murder of an outspoken journalist with left leaning Gauri Lankesh in Bengaluru recently, the attacks on journalists in their line of duty are still on the incessant rise. Just a day after this gruesome murder a journalist of a hindi daily was attacked with guns in Arwal district of Bihar but was lucky to save himself. But what now? Just yesterday i.e. on Wednesday in Tripura another journalist working with a news channel Din Raat having left leanings was killed in broad daylight by the Indigenous Peoples’ Front of Tripura with police literally doing nothing except playing the role of mere onlookers.
The name of the 27 year old young journalist is Shantanu Bhowmik who was working as a reporter and had gone to West Tripura tribal dominated Mandwai district to cover the clashes between Indigenous Peoples’ Front of Tripura and the Communist Party of India Marxist cadres. Tripura is being ruled by CPM government for years together with its current chief minister Manik Sarkar counted as one of the most honest chief minister of the country who travels by Rikshaw and donates his entire salary in the party fund thus surviving on the monthly stipend of Rs 5 to 8 thousands given to him every month from the CPM party fund.
Both the journalists Gauri Lankesh and Shantanu Bhowmik were killed in non BJP ruled states and both had progressive communist leanings stridently opposed to the right wing ideology and ideologues. According to the police the volunteers of the Tripura Rajer Ganmukti Parishad were stationed at a bus stand to board the bus for the state capital Agartala in order to participate in the CPM rally. On seeing these left cadre the IPFT members got infuriated and attacked them with lethal weapons.
Journalist Shantanu was covering this development live and was targetted on the spot. In India shamefully more than seventy journalists have been brutally murdered in their line of during the last few years such as Bakshi Teerath Singh of Punjab Kesari on 27th Feb 1992, Shivani Bhatnager of Indian Express, 1999, Irfan Hussain Outlook, March 1999, Adhir Rai, Freelance, March 2000, V Silveraj, Nakeeran in July 2000, Journalist Thounojaam Brajmani Singh Manipur News, August 2000, Ram Chandra Chatrapat, Pura Sach, Nov 2002, Rajesh Verma IBN 7, 2013, Sai Bandhu, Desh Bandu 2013, December, Tarun Kanak TV, May 2014, V Shankar, Jagendra Singh, Sandeep Kothari, Sanjay Pathak, Hemant Yadav, Rajiv Ranjan( all journalists) and finally Gauri Lankesh and Shantanu Bhowmik in 2017. The moot question is what are the governments doing to stop the blood bath and the increasing murders of journalists in the country.