The Press Council of India (PCI) has taken action to seek information about the progress in the investigation into the unsolved murders of journalists Santanu Bhowmik of ‘Din Raat’ channel and Sudip Dutta-Bhowmik, reporter of ‘Syandan Patrika’ in Tripura. The secretary of PCI, Nungsanglemba Ao, has written a letter to the chief secretary of the state, J.K. Sinha, with copies to the home secretary and DGP, requesting a reply to the letter. The PCI had previously passed an adjudication order in the matter on November 15, 2018.
The intervention by PCI came in response to a complaint filed by Prashanta Chakraborty, secretary of the Tripura Union of Working Journalists (TUWJ), an affiliate of the National Union of Journalists (NUJ). Following the murders of Santanu Bhowmik and Sudip Dutta-Bhowmik, the state government had constituted a special investigation team (SIT) to investigate the cases and file a charge-sheet, which was completed by the SIT. However, there was a change in government with the BJP coming to power in 2018, and the demand for a CBI inquiry into the matter led to the case being handed over to the CBI. Unfortunately, the CBI’s investigation has faced challenges, resulting in delays and lack of progress in the cases.
Expressing concern over the matter, Prashanta Chakraborty sought the intervention of the Press Council of India, which has now taken proactive steps to seek updates on the investigations. The PCI’s actions highlight the importance of ensuring justice and accountability in cases of violence against journalists, and the need for prompt and effective investigations to bring perpetrators to justice. The unresolved cases of Santanu Bhowmik and Sudip Dutta-Bhowmik underscore the challenges faced by journalists in some regions and the critical role of media freedom in upholding democracy and safeguarding the rights of journalists.