The Special Investigation Team (SIT), which was constituted by the Tripura government to probe the killing of a journalist by a Tripura State Rifles (TSR) trooper, on Saturday arrested two more security personnel, police said.
“Following their investigation, the SIT arrested Naib Subedar Amit Debbarma and TSR rifleman Dharmendra Singh, as they are found to be abettors and conspirators of the killing,” a police official said.
Police produced them in the Chief Judicial Magistrate’s court here on Saturday and the court sent them to a seven-day police custody.
With the latest arrests, four security personnel, including TSR Second Battalion Commandant Tapan Debbarma, are in custody in connection with the gunning down of the journalist within the battalion headquarters complex on Tuesday.
According to police, TSR Second Battalion Rifleman Nandu Kumar Reang, following an altercation, shot dead local newspaper journalist Sudip Datta Bhowmik, 50, at Radha Kishore Nagar, 25 km from Agartala.
Reang was the bodyguard of battalion Commandant Tapan Debbarma, who is a senior Tripura Police Service (TPS) officer (1998 batch). The slain journalist had gone to meet Debbarma at the battalion headquarters.
Both Reang and Debbarma are now in police custody and senior police officers are interrogating them.
The Press Council of India (PCI) has taken suo motu cognizance of the killing and sought a report from the Tripura government.
Demanding a Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) probe into the incident, several journalist organisations under a newly-formed platform — Forum for Protection of Journalists (FFPJ) — on Saturday took out a protest rally on Saturday.
FFPJ Convener Pranab Sarkar said a memorandum would be sent to President Ram Nath Kovind demanding a CBI probe into the killing of the journalist and protection to media persons.
Bhowmik, who was a reporter with “Syandan Patrika” and local cable television channel “Vanguarda, is survived by his wife, a government teacher, and two children.
Earlier, 28-year-old TV reporter Santanu Bhowmik was hacked to death while covering an event of a tribal party at Mandai in western Tripura on September 20.
Tripura Governor Tathagata Roy, who is now in Delhi, has said he would submit a report to Union Home Minister Rajnath Singh on Bhowmik’s killing.
The Congress has demanded a high-level inquiry into the murder. The Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) has demanded a CBI probe and resignation of Chief Minister Manik Sarkar, who also holds the Home portfolio. Both parties observed a state-wide shutdown on Thursday to protest the killing.
The ruling Communist Party of India-Marxist has criticised the BJP for politicising the journalist’s killing.