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Journalist Killing Protest Creates Chaos, Leads to Shutdown in Tripura

Many activists of different political parties were injured in clashes as the BJP, Congress and other parties called a shutdown on Thursday to protest the killing of a journalist by a Tripura State Rifles (TSR) trooper

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Journalist killing leads to clashes in Tripura. IANS.

Agartala, Nov 23: Many activists of different political parties were injured in clashes while normal life was hit in Left ruled Tripura as the BJP, Congress and other parties called a shutdown on Thursday to protest the killing of a journalist by a Tripura State Rifles (TSR) trooper.

“Around 25 activists of different political parties including BJP and CPI-M were injured following the clashes in various places across Tripura,” a police official said.

Police said around 600 activists of the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) and other parties were arrested for picketing in front of government offices in different parts of the state.

Most of the government, semi-government, private offices, educational institutions, shops and business establishments were closed due to the strike called by the BJP, the Congress, the Trinamool Congress and the Indigenous Nationalist Party of Tripura.

Banks and financial institutions were also closed in view of the shutdown, which was opposed by the ruling Communist Party of India-Marxist (CPI-M) led Left Front.

All vehicles, except those of security forces, went off the roads. The bandh did not affect flights and train services in and out of Tripura.

“The strike was successful and spontaneous,” state BJP President Biplab Kumar Deb said.

Security forces led by senior police officials have been deployed across the state to prevent any untoward incident.

According to police, TSR Second Battalion Rifleman Nandu Kumar Reang shot dead Sudip Datta Bhowmik, 50, at Radha Kishore Nagar, 25 km from Agartala, following an altercation on Tuesday. Reang was the bodyguard of Second Battalion Commandant Tapan Debbarma. The slain journalist had gone to meet Debbarma at the battalion headquarters.

Police have arrested both the trooper and the Commandant. The Chief Judicial Magistrate here sent the duo to 10 days in police custody.

The state government, which has handed over the case to the Criminal Investigation Department (CID), also constituted a four-member Special Investigation Team (SIT) to probe the incident.

Bhowmik, who was a reporter with “Syandan Patrika” and television channel “Vanguard”, is survived by his wife, a government teacher, and two children.

Most of the local newspapers left their editorial blank on Thursday with a thick black border to register their strong protest over the killing.

Numerous theories and claims have surfaced regarding the reason behind the journalist’s killing, the second incident involving a media man in the state. Earlier, 28-year-old TV reporter Santanu Bhowmik was hacked to death while covering an event of a tribal party at Mandai in western Tripura on September 20.

“Syandan Patrikaa” editor and Tripura Newspaper Society President Subal Kumar Dey alleged that his reporter was targeted by the commandant as the former had written many stories against him in the newspaper.

“It was a pre-planned cold-blooded assassination and they tried to hide the body to destroy evidence. Bhowmik was killed as he had exposed the TSR commandant’s illegal acts,” Dey told the media.

Police, however, claim Bhowmik had stolen an envelope containing a huge amount of money or some confidential documents from Debbarma’s table while the latter was in the toilet after their meeting in the office chamber.

Tripura Governor Tathagata Roy, who is now in Delhi, has said that he will submit a report to Union Home Minister Rajnath Singh on Bhowmik’s killing.

With the state Assembly polls due in February, the journalist’s murder has heated up the political atmosphere in the Left ruled state.

The ruling CPI-M criticised the BJP for politicising the killing of the journalist.

“The ‘bandh’ called by BJP is totally undemocratic. It would hamper normal lives and especially the annual examinations started in schools and ongoing revision of electoral rolls for the next Assembly elections,” CPI-M Central Committee member Gautam Das said.

The Congress has demanded a high-level inquiry into the murder. The BJP has demanded the resignation of Chief Minister Manik Sarkar.

Various journalists organisations in the northeast including the Tripura Working Journalists Association, Tripura Journalists Union (TJU) and the Agartala Press Club have also denounced the killing and demanded a probe.

The TJU has also demanded the resignation of the state Home Minister, a portfolio held by Sarkar. (IANS)

Next Story

Ever Thought of Adopting An Animal? Tripura Zoo Gives You The Opportunity

According to the official, the name of the individual or the institution that adopts an animal is also to be displayed at the enclosure of such animals.

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With greater publicity, the adoption scheme must be popularised as most people do not know about the noble plan. Pixabay

Ever dreamt of adopting a lion, a crocodile or a Himalayan black bear or any wild animal?

If yes, here’s your opportunity to do so in Tripura – except that you cannot take the animal home.

According to a senior Tripura wildlife official, any institution or individual can adopt an animal by annually paying between Rs 5,020 and Rs 2,81,000 for its upkeep at the Sepahijala Wildlife Sanctuary and Zoo, located in western Tripura’s Sepahijala District.

The scheme encourages people to participate in the conservation of wildlife, especially endangered species.

Tripura’s Additional Principal Chief Conservator of Forests and Chief Wildlife Warden Dvijendra Kumar Sharma said: “To those who adopt an animal, the sanctuary authorities issue certificates of adoption and publish their names in leading newspapers and provide complimentary passes to visit the zoo, besides other privileges.

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The scheme encourages people to participate in the conservation of wildlife, especially endangered species. Pixabay

“Adoption of an animal is noble not only for individuals but for his family too. An adoption makes a great gift for birthdays, anniversaries and are always unique,” Sharma told IANS.

Animals listed for adoption are lion, crocodile, clouded leopard, Himalayan black bear, binturong, hornbill, peacock, common leopard, hoolock gibbon, slow loris, pig-tailed macaque, pelican, capped langur, spectacled langur, leopard cat and even a vulture.

According to the official, the name of the individual or the institution that adopts an animal is also to be displayed at the enclosure of such animals.

Sharma, a popular author on biodiversity and forests, said that so far state-owned Oil and Natural Gas Corp (ONGC) and three other individuals have adopted a Royal Bengal Tiger, a python, a peacock and a clouded leopard.

An official of the Sepahijala Wildlife Sanctuary and Zoo said that two Royal Bengal Tigers (one male and one female) recently died of disease and talks were on with the Central Zoo to bring two more Royal Bengal Tigers from other zoos in the country.

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According to the official, the name of the individual or the institution that adopts an animal is also to be displayed at the enclosure of such animals. Pixabay

“We are trying to replicate the model of people’s participation in wildlife management followed in the Central Zoo and other zoos in the country, especially in southern states,” said Sharma, a senior Indian Forest Service officer.

“I always loved animals and the environment. That’s why I adopted a clouded leopard. The caretaker of the Sepahijala Wildlife Sanctuary and Zoo Madhab Chandra Deb inspired me to adopt an animal,” Axis Bank Ltd Senior Vice President Karan Butalia told IANS on the phone from Delhi.

Former Tripura Minister Jawahar Saha’s engineer daughter Mahashweta Saha and an associate professor (Zoology) of state-run Ramthakur College Sharmistha Banerjee adopted a python and a peacock (peafowl) respectively.

“With greater publicity, the adoption scheme must be popularised as most people do not know about the noble plan,” Banerjee told IANS.

Also Read: The Unconventional Way of Learning: Textbooks Come Alive in Gujarat’s Schools

The Sepahijala Wildlife Sanctuary and Zoo (25 km south of Agartala), set up in 1972 within a sanctuary and home to 655 animals belonging to 55 different species, is the first zoo in eastern and northeastern India where adoption of animals had started a few years ago.

Sepahijala Wildlife Sanctuary and Zoo’s Head Keeper Madhab Chandra Deb told IANS: “My love for animals since childhood attracted the top forest officials and they gave me a government job. I request all people including tourists and visitors to extend their love and support to the animals and also adopt them.” (IANS)