HRDA issued an urgent appeal to the National Human Rights Commission on May 21, 2022 urging it to take action on the physical attack, threat, custodial torture and illegal detention of journalist Nitai Dey while he was working on a report to cover the government’s decision to ration fuel.
Mr. Dey is a staff reporter of leading newspaper Tripura Darpan and a Video Correspondent for Guwahati based NE News. He is also a member of Agartala Press Club, Tripura Photo Journalist Association and Tripura Working Journalist Association.
On May 17, 2022, Mr. Dey went to the Radhanagar petrol pump to refuel his motorbike. While in the queue he spoke to people queuing at the petrol pump about the fuel rationing by the Tripura government following the disruption to the railway line at Badarpur and road traffic on National Highway-44. While Mr. Dey was speaking, a police inspector, Mr. Arindam Roy, grabbed him and pulled him out from the queue. He then started abusing him and dragged Mr. Dey into the police van, where some more armed policemen joined the assault. Inspector Roy also threatened to kill Mr. Dey inside the van for writing news against the police.
The policemen then forcibly took Mr. Dey to go to the East Agartala police station where he was booked under Section 90 (ii) of Tripura Police Act. Mr. Roy then pushed Mr. Dey into the Officer In Charge’s chamber, forced liquor down Mr. Dey’s mouth and started beating him. He was slapped and hit by long batons by Mr. Roy, the Special Police officer and other policemen and personnel of Tripura State Rifles, who were brought in by Mr. Roy. After being brutally tortured, Mr. Dey was taken to Agartala government hospital at around 12.45 am on May 18 with 3-4 policemen including Mr. Roy. During the medical test, Mr. Dey overheard Mr. Roy directing the on-duty medical officer to give a report of ‘intoxication’ to Mr. Dey despite Mr. Dey being a teetotaller.
We have urged the Hon’ble Commission to act against this gruesome torture and assault on a journalist for merely doing his work as a journalist.