Three employees of an Agartala based-Bengali daily here were stabbed to death by masked assailants on Sunday afternoon.The editor-owner, believed to be the prime target, however, had a narrow escape.
An eyewitness told the police that two youths rushed inside the three-storey office building of Dainik Ganadoot in Palace Compound around 3 p.m and ran up to the residence of the paper’s owner, Sushil Choudhury, on the first floor.
On their way, the assailants found newspaper manager Ranjit Choudhury, 58, and repeatedly stabbed him with a knife, reportedly mistaking him for the owner. He resembled the owner, a senior police officer told newsmen.
While escaping, the youths stabbed proof reader Sujit Bhattacharjee, 31. The third victim, driver Balaram Ghosh, 40, was attacked when he rushed to the scene on hearing the shouting and screaming. All the three died on the spot.
The police used a sniffer dog, but have not been able to get a trail. No arrest has been made so far but police officers who visited the spot believe contract killers were used in the crime.
Information Minister Bhanu Lal Saha, Pradesh Congress Committee president Sudip Roy Burman, the former leader of the Opposition, Ratan Lal Nath, and journalists visited the Dainik Ganadoot office during the day.
Congress calls strike
In protest against the murders, the Congress has called a general strike here on Tuesday. The party also demanded hefty compensation for the victims’ families.
The Information Minister refuted the allegation that the incident reflected the dismal law and order situation in Tripura. “Police could not possibly prevent such an attack,” he told reporters.
Congress spokesperson Asish Saha, however, slammed the government and called for Chief Minister Manik Sarkar’s resignation. “The incident indeed confirms the deteriorating law and order situation in the State. The Chief Minister, who is in charge of the Home department, should immediately resign owning responsibility for his complete failure.”“We also demand that the government provide a job to each of the families,” he added.
The journalist fraternity in Tripura has expressed concern and anxiety over the attack. Media organisations have called a meeting for Monday to chalk out a protest plan.
The Newspaper Forum of Assam has condemned the incident. In a statement faxed to newspaper offices in Agartala, its secretary Nava Thakuria demanded a high-level probe and compensation for the bereaved families.
The police are clueless on the motive for the murders and identity of the two assailants. They have recovered the knife the assailants used.
Police teams, it is learnt, conducted raids in different parts of the city and are questioning suspects.