New Delhi, November 22, 2017–Indian authorities must thoroughly investigate the shooting yesterday of Sudip Dutta Bhaumik, an investigative reporter at the Bengali-language daily Syandan Patrika, and ensure those responsible are held accountable, the Committee to Protect Journalists said today.
Bhaumik was allegedly shot by a guard outside the office of Tapan Debbarma, a commandant in the Tripura State Rifles paramilitary force, in India’s Tripura state, according to reports. Debbarma had invited the journalist to the base to speak with him about a clarification he wanted to a November 13 story that alleged financial irregularities in the paramilitary force, according to news reports and the journalist’s editor. Subal Kumar Dey, editor of Syandan Patrika, told CPJ that witnesses told him that the journalist and commandant argued.
“Authorities in Tripura must fully investigate the killing of Sudip Dutta Bhaumik and ensure all those responsible are brought to justice,” CPJ Asia Program Coordinator Steven Butler said in Washington D.C. “Authorities must send the message that India will not tolerate attacks and killing of journalists.”
Abhijit Saptarishi, the police superintendent of West Tripura district, which has jurisdiction over the paramilitary, said that the guard who allegedly shot Bhaumik has been detained, according to The Indian Express. The state’s chief minister, Manik Sarkar, said that Debbarma was suspended from duty, according to news reports.
Akhil Kumar Shukla, director-general of Tripura police, told CPJ that he would not comment on the telephone about Debbarma’s status, saying only that the incident is under investigation. Abhijit Saptarishi, police superintendent of West Tripura district, did not immediately respond to CPJ’s calls and messages seeking comment about the guard who allegedly shot the journalist.
At least 41 journalists have been killed in relation to their work in India since 1992, according to CPJ research. CPJ is investigating the killing of Shantanu Bhowmik, a reporter from Tripura state, who was beaten to death in September.