Journalist killed in violence between rival tribal wings in Tripura

The clashes began when supporters of the Ganamukti Parishad, a tribal wing of the ruling CPM, gathered at a bus stand in Khowai town to travel to Agartala for a rally.

india Updated: Sep 20, 2017 21:47 IST
Priyanka Deb Barman
Priyanka Deb Barman
Hindustan Times, Agartala
Tripura,Indigenous People’s Front of Tripura,IPFT
Journalist Shantanu Bhowmik was allegedly killed in an attack by tribal party cadres in Tripura.

A journalist was killed on Wednesday and several people were wounded in ongoing clashes between supporters of two rival tribal associations in Mandwai, about 28km from Tripura capital Agartala.

Santanu Bhowmick, a journalist from Dinrat news channel, was hit from behind and abducted when he was covering an agitation and road blockade by the Indigenous People’s Front of Tripura (IPFT), superintendent of police Abhijit Saptarshi said.

He was found with serious stab wounds and was rushed to a government hospital, where doctors declared him dead on arrival.

Tripura health minister Badal Chowdhury condemned the killing and information minister Bhanulal Saha visited the hospital.

The police superintendent said the situation at Mandai was tense. Prohibitory orders were imposed and more forces were rushed to contain sporadic violence.

The clashes began when supporters of the Ganamukti Parishad, a tribal wing of the ruling CPM, gathered at a bus stand in Khowai town to travel to Agartala for a rally.

The IPFT workers attacked the rivals with sticks and iron rods and wounded at least 60 of them and damaged at least 15 buses.

The Parishad had called the rally in Mandwai, a tribal-dominated area in West Tripura district, against the IPFT.

The violence spread quickly and more people were wounded. The CPM accused the IPFT of ransacking its offices and torching homes.

“The IPFT triggered the violence … they attempted to mislead the indigenous people by demanding a separate state called Tipraland. But they are gradually losing their grip. To hide their failures, they masterminded the violence,” CPM state secretary Bijan Dhar said.

He also alleged that the BJP and Union ministers were backing the IPFT, which is opposing the country’s longest-running leftist government.

IPFT chief NC Debbarma declined comments.

(with agency inputs)

First Published: Sep 20, 2017 19:55 IST