The gruesome murder of reporter Santanu Bhowmik has once again raised questions about security of journalists in the country. Often journalists become victims when their views differ with the ideologies of those related with the political parties. Today it has become difficult for journalists to freely express their views as many of them end up losing their lives. Later political parties start indulging in blame games and questioning the credibility of opposition parties whose ideology is different from theirs. Of late, whenever a journalist or social activist is murdered, finger of suspicion is pointed towards right wing parties. Many times allegations are made against RSS after the murder of a journalist. Thus, is it justified to blame right wing parties for every journalist’s murder even before the investigation is conducted?
Bhowmik’s murder has happened few months prior to the Tripura Assembly polls. Election will be held in the state in early 2018. In 2015 India was ranked the deadliest country in Asia for journalists by Reporters Without Borders – although most deaths occur in remote rural areas away from the major urban centres.
Deep Halder, Editor, Dainik Bhaskar Group said, “Such incidents are occurring regularly nowadays especially after the murder of Gauri Lankesh. Often more coverage is given to journalists deaths that have occurred in metropolitan cities like Mumbai and Bengaluru. It’s good to note that such incidents happening in small towns too are being given coverage. Journalists have to undergo various risks while covering news.”
“In Tripura CPI (M) is ruling and Karnataka is governed by Congress. After BJP came to power political clashes have increased in the country. Such intolerance never existed in the country. It is not justified to blame BJP and RSS for every journalist’s murder. Law and order has completely deteriorated in the country as journalists are being killed and no action is being taken,” he added.
IPFT leader Dhananjay Reang said, “Clashes had occurred between protestors and IPFT as one journalist sustained severe injuries. He was sent to hospital and later was declared dead. We have demanded a CBI inquiry into this case.”
Brinda Karat, CPI (M) leader and Rajya Sabha MP said, “He was a progressive and brilliant journalist and was working with a television channel. The IPFT group was working with Congress but now they have shifted loyalties towards BJP. Since Tripura elections are just round the corner BJP is offering them financial assistance. We strongly condemn the murder of Bhowmik. After BJP came to power they started eyeing Tripura state hence they started supporting IPFT. “
Vicky Nanjappa, Special Correspondent, One India said, “When protest happen journalists come forward to cover the incident. Protection must be offered to journalists while covering the story. Bhowmick lacked security while covering the news hence he was killed. Steps must be taken to provide security to journalists. Gauri Lankesh might have been murdered due to some different reason as probe has proved to be inconclusive.”
Rashid Hashmi, Executive Producer/ Anchor, India News said, “This is not the first instance when such incidents have occurred. They have happened in north and southern India. An opinion must be formed as there is a threat to democracy. If a journalist is facing threat while covering stories then it is the duty of the state and central government to seriously think about enhancing his security. There might be difference of ideology but action must be taken against those who are trying to impose their views on others.”