A journalists' body, which has been protesting Tripura Chief Minister Biplab Deb's "won't forgive" remark against media, has decided to approach Governor Ramesh Bais to press for their demands, including retraction of the statement.
On September 11, Mr Deb accused a section of the state's newspapers of covering the coronavirus pandemic in a "confused" way and said it won't be forgiven. The Tripura Assembly of Journalists alleged the remark was a threat and demanded that Mr Deb retract his comment by September 16.
Mr Deb didn't retract but clarified his remark last week. "The issue I raised in my speech that day was not aimed to hurt or criticise anyone. It was to alert the people of Tripura about confusion and some conspiracy. It is my duty to protect the people from all these. Sometime publicity is such that a monkey is shown as a tiger and tiger is shown as a monkey," he had told a delegation of television journalists.
TAJ chairman and veteran journalist, Subal Kumar Dey, in a press statement, has alleged that the state government has taken repressive steps against the media in the past few months.
The journalist fraternity has also pointed out that the Chief Minister did not condemn the attack on a rural journalist, who had made aggressive social media post against his "won't forgive" statement.
"Without any notice, advertisement has been cut or stopped, sending notices to newspapers; journalists are threatened and attacked; slandering against media persons in social media; and whoever is talking to media against the government has been threatened or beaten up under Biplab Deb's rule. Police are not taking any action against the offenders. So far in two and half years of Deb's rule, at least 17 journalists were attacked. We shall not sit idle until Biplab Deb seeks public apology for his undemocratic and irresponsible comment," he said.
History will not forget the state government for its Covid coverage, Mr Deb had said. "A few newspapers and journalists are getting overexcited and confusing the people of Tripura. History will not forget them. I will also not forgive them. People of Tripura will not forget them. Biplab Deb will not forget them. I do what I say, I keep my words. History will remain witness to it".