Agartala (Tripura, India), September 09 (KMS): Indian state of Tripura witnessed unprecedented violence after BJP leaders and workers tore through the office of a vernacular daily, Pratibadi Kalam, and injured at least four journalists, besides damaging property and burning down vehicles.
Ransacking the premises of the daily in Agartala, the BJP members destroyed equipment, documents, and set cars and bikes ablaze, according to a police case filed by Anal Roy Chowdhury, Editor and Publisher of Pratibadi Kalam.
Some offices of the Communist Party of India Marxist (CPM) were also reportedly set on fire.
“At least four journalists were injured in the attack. All papers and documents, computers and CCTV cameras were destroyed while a huge contingent of police remained as silent spectators. The police did nothing,” the FIR says.
“The goons were armed with lathis and sharp cutting deadly weapons and one of our journalists, namely Prasenjit Saha, was hit on the back of his head by a sharp cutting weapon injuring him seriously,” Choudhury said in the FIR.
Chowdhury later told the media that such a dangerous, violent attack on a media office had never happened in Tripura.
Indian Union Minister Pratima Bhoumik had led a procession in Kathalia in West Tripura district, according to media reports.
“I have come to know that our local committee office, which was locked for over 2.5 years, has been damaged and attacked. Our vehicles were vandalised, one vehicle was set on fire,” the CPM’s Bijan Dhar told media.
The violence followed a BJP rally and was reportedly carried out by the state ruling party’s workers as well as leaders.
Many media organisations and senior journalists and editors, including Agartala Press Club Secretary Pranab Sarkar, visited the Pratibadi Kalam office and vehemently condemned the attack. They demanded the immediate arrest of those involved in the attack.
“If the police do not arrest the attackers within 12 hours, we would launch a massive agitation to get justice. The government must compensate the damage done,” Pranab Sarkar said after meeting the police officials.