BJP, CPI(M) lock horns over ‘Daily Desher Katha’ ban

Agartala: Communist Party of India (Marxist) leader and founder-editor of ‘Daily Desher Katha’, Gautam Das on Monday said that the decision to ban his party’s mouthpiece in the state is “politically motivated” move.

West Tripura District Magistrate Sandeep Mahatme on October 1 passed an order banning the 40-year-old vernacular daily in the state on the ground of alleged discrepancies in the changeover of the management.

“It is politically motivated. Before passing the order state Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) secretary Rajib Bhattacharjee was in the chamber of West Tripura District Magistrate and had a long meeting, after that he (DM) passed the illegal order,” Das told ANI.

Das added that since the BJP-IPFT(Indigenous People’s Front of Tripura) came to power last year, massive attacks had been unleashed on Left leaders and cadres and the paper was not allowed to be circulated along with curtail in its government advertisement. He also claimed that following the closure of the daily over 200 journalists and non-journalists would become jobless.

Meanwhile, the CPI-M politburo criticised the decision and said: “This is a brazen attack on the freedom of the press. It is a sad day that (the daily) has been banned on October 2, Gandhi Jayanti.”

The CPI(M) also appealed to all democratic sections of the people to protest against this serious “attack on the fundamental rights enshrined in the Constitution”.

However, Bhattacharjee denied BJP’s involvement in the decision and said that the mouthpiece was being run illegally.

“‘Daily Desher Katha’ which is the mouthpiece of CPI-M was being run illegally. That’s why District Magistrate closed down the paper. On Monday during a presser CPI-M had blamed BJP for it which I condemn,” Bhattacharjee told ANI.