Three newspaper employees stabbed to death in India

New York, May 20, 2013–Two unidentified assailants on Sunday stabbed to death three employees of a Bengali-language Indian daily in Agartala, the capital of the northeastern state of Tripura, according to news reports.

The men stormed the office building of Dainik Ganadoot in the late afternoon and stabbed two of the paper’s employees–Sujit Bhattacharya, or Sunil Bhattacharjee, who was a proofreader, and Balaram Ghosh, a driver–before heading upstairs to where Sushil Chowdhury, the newspaper’s editor and owner, lived, according to news reports citing an eyewitness.

Reports said the assailants then stabbed Ranjit Chowdhury, the paper’s office manager, before fleeing the building, reports said. The victims were stabbed multiple times.

Police told reporters that Sushil Chowdhury, the paper’s editor, bore a strong resemblance to the office manager who was killed. The editor told local reporters he believed he was the target of the attack because the assailants had headed for his living quarters, according to news reports.

News accounts did not immediately report if the editor and office manager were related.

Sushil Chowdhury told reporters he was not aware of a motive for the attack. Nava Thakuria, the secretary of the Journalists’ Forum Assam, told CPJ that Dainik Ganadoot reports on local politics and social issues, but that the paper had not covered any sensitive stories in the days preceding the attack. Thakuria also said that Chowdhury had not been aware of any threats prior to the attack.

Police conducted a preliminary investigation at the scene, but no arrests were made. Police said they believed contract killers were used in the attack, but have not yet identified a motive, The Hindu reported.

“Authorities must conduct a thorough investigation to identify the suspects and motive of this awful attack,” said Bob Dietz, CPJ’s Asia program coordinator.

  • For more data and analysis on India, visit CPJ’s India page here.