Unknown assailants on Sunday afternoon stabbed to death three employees of a Bengali daily newspaper in Left Front-ruled Tripura capital Agartala.
Eyewitnesses told police that two motorcycle borne masked men barged into the first floor office of Dainik Ganadoot newspaper around 3pm and stabbed manager Ranjit Choudhury, 58. On their way down the stairs, they stabbed the proof reader Sujit Bhattacharjee, 31 and driver Balaram Ghosh, 40, before driving away.
All three died on the spot. Among the eyewitnesses was the 11-year-old daughter of Ghosh, who stayed in the building located in Palace Compound, the city's heart.
"From what we gathered, the assailant had targeted the newspaper's editor Sushil Choudhury but killed the near-lookalike manager," a senior police officer said from Agartala. He added that sniffer dogs lost the assailants' scent 300m from the scene of crime.
Tripura information minister Bhanu Lal Saha visited the newspaper office in the evening and condemned the incident. "We have asked the police to catch the culprits as soon as possible," he said.
Opposition leaders and the media fraternity in Tripura termed the killings an assault on freedom of expression.
Police said the murders could be linked with the newspaper editor's other business interests including real estate.