Tripura, West Bengal govts offer jobs, financial aid to kin of slain journalist Sudip Datta Bhowmik

Agartala: The Tripura and West Bengal governments on Tuesday offered government jobs, educational help and financial aid to the kin of a slain Tripura journalist, who was gunned down by a security personnel last week.

Journalist Sudip Datta Bhowmik, 50, was shot by a Tripura State Rifle (TSR) rifleman in Radha Kishore Nagar, 25 kilometres from Agartala, on 21 November.

"The Council of Ministers in a weekly meeting on Tuesday has decided to give Rs 10 lakh to Bhowmik's family. The cost of his teenaged daughter's education would be borne by the state government," Tripura Information and Finance Minister Bhanulal Saha told the media.

 Tripura, West Bengal govts offer jobs, financial aid to kin of slain journalist Sudip Datta Bhowmik

File image of slain journalist Sudip Datta Bhowmik. Facebook/ Sudip Datta Bhowmik

Chief Minister Manik Sarkar presided over the Cabinet meeting.

On the other hand, Trinamool Congress (TMC)'s West Bengal Assembly member Sabyasachi Dutta accompanied by state party leaders on Tuesday visited the home of the slain journalist.

Datta later told the media that TMC supremo and West Bengal chief minister Mamata Banerjee talked to Bhowmik's mother Putul Rani Datta Bhowmik over the phone and assured her that the West Bengal government would provide a government job to the deceased's son Samik, who is now studying engineering in an Odisha institute.

"Mamata Banerjee also assured to take the educational responsibility (by her government) of Bhowmik's daughter Samridhi (who is studying in Class VIII in a Tripura school)," said Sabyasachi Dutta, who is also the Mayor of Bidhannagar Municipal Corporation.

According to police, TSR second battalion rifleman Nandu Kumar Reang, following an altercation, shot dead Sudip Datta Bhowmik at the battalion headquarters in Radha Kishore Nagar.

Reang was the bodyguard of battalion Commandant Tapan Debbarma, who is a senior Tripura Police Service (TPS) officer (1998 batch) and waiting for IPS nomination. The slain journalist had gone to meet Debbarma at the battalion headquarters.

To probe the sensational killing, the state government earlier constituted a four-member Special Investigation Team (SIT) headed by Deputy Inspector General of police Arindam Nath.

The SIT has so far arrested four TSR personnel, including Debbarma, and his bodyguard.

"More TSR officials are likely to be arrested in connection with the journalist's killing," an SIT member said.

The Press Council of India (PCI) has taken suo motu cognizance of the killing and sought a report from the Tripura government.

Demanding a Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) probe into the incident, several journalist organisations under a newly-formed platform—Forum for Protection of Journalists (FFPJ)—are continuing their agitation.

FFPJ Convener Pranab Sarkar said a memorandum would be sent to President Ram Nath Kovind demanding a CBI probe into the killing of the journalist and protection to media persons.

Bhowmik, who was a reporter with Syandan Patrika and local cable television channel Vanguarda, is survived by his wife, a government teacher, and two children.

Earlier, 28-year-old TV reporter Shantanu Bhowmik was hacked to death while covering an event of a tribal party in Mandai in western Tripura on 20 September.

The Congress has demanded a high-level inquiry into the murder. The Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) has demanded a CBI probe and resignation of Chief Minister Manik Sarkar, who also holds the Home portfolio. Both parties observed a state-wide shutdown last week (on Thursday) to protest the killing.

The ruling Communist Party of India-Marxist (CPI-M) has criticised the BJP for politicising the journalist's killing.

"State government is on the right track in probing the unfortunate killing," CPM central committee member Gautam Das told the media.

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Updated Date: Nov 28, 2017 18:13:17 IST