Agartala: A group of BJP supporters attacked the residence of Tripura’s veteran journalist and vice president of the Assembly of Journalists (AoJ), Samir Dhar, late on Saturday, May 29. This is the third such attack on Dhar’s house since 2018 when the BJP assumed power in the state, and attacks on journalists have since become a regular occurrence.
Stating that Dhar has been threatened several times, the AoJ, in a statement, said, “The miscreants, known as supporters of the ruling BJP party, entered the area on Saturday late night at around 9 pm with sharp weapons and carried out the attacks. They vandalised the boundary walls of Samir Dhar’s residence and also abused him using obscene language and threatened him with dire consequences.”
Dhar is a Tripura correspondent of AajKaal, a regional language newspaper from West Bengal, and is also the younger brother of Tripura’s Left front convener Bijan Dhar.
Expressing outrage against the series of attacks on journalists and media outlets across the state, AoJ demanded the immediate arrest of the assaulters.
On Sunday, May 30, members of AoJ, including Jayanta Debnath, Anal Roy Chowdhury, along with general secretary Shanit Debray and vice-president Arun Nath, visited Dhar at his residence to inquire into the incident.
They said that a written complaint was lodged with the Amtali police station, however, it had been more than 24 hours and there was no information about any arrests so far.
“The matter has also been brought to the notice of the state police chief on behalf of AoJ. The attack was pre-planned and is part of a conspiracy,” the AoJ alleged.
They, however, alleged that such attacks have gained momentum in the state after chief minister Biplab Kumar Deb threatened the media at a public meeting on September 11 last year.
“It has been noticed that this attack is happening as the chief minister on adamant with his statement. The Assembly of Journalists, the largest unity forum for journalists in the state, is expressing deep concern over such behavior,” the statement read.
Speaking with The Wire, Dhar said that miscreants had attacked his residence along with his neighbours’ house on Saturday midnight.
“This is for the third time since 2018 my house was attacked. The miscreants couldn’t enter inside my house, but they vandalised boundary walls, threatened me, and used bad language. Not only me, but they also attacked our neighbour’s house,” Dhar said, adding that the miscreants had also attacked the supporters of CPI(M).
“I filed an FIR regarding the matter. The police today came to my home and said that they started investigating the matter,” Dhar said.
An on-duty police official from the Amtali police station said that on Sunday an FIR was filed against some unknown persons for attacking the residence of Dhar.