Second Indian journalist killed in one month

Shantanu Bhowmick was covering political unrest in Agartala, the capital of remote Tripura state in India's northeast. (AFP)
Updated 21 September 2017
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Second Indian journalist killed in one month

NEW DELHI: A reporter covering political unrest in India’s northeast was beaten to death during violent clashes, officials said Thursday, two weeks after the high-profile murder of another prominent journalist.
Shantanu Bhowmick was set upon with sticks as he reported on violence Wednesday between warring political factions and police outside Agartala, the capital of remote Tripura state.
State police superintendent Abhijit Saptarshi said more than a dozen officers were also injured in the fracas and tensions remained high in the troubled region.
“We later found the journalist’s body at the site of the clashes,” he told AFP from Tripura.
No arrests have yet been made in connection with the reporter’s death, but four people were detained on separate charges related to the political violence, Saptarshi said.
Bhowmick’s death brings the number of reporters killed in India since the early 1990s to 29, according to figures from the Committee to Protect Journalists.
It comes just a fortnight after the murder of Gauri Lankesh, a newspaper editor and outspoken critic of the ruling Hindu nationalist party whose death sparked an outpouring of anger.
The 55-year-old was shot dead by three unknown gunmen as she entered her home in the southern city of Bangalore in Karnataka state on September 5.
No one has yet been identified or arrested in connection with the killing.
In 2015 India was ranked the deadliest country in Asia for journalists by Reporters Without Borders — although most deaths occur in remote rural areas away from the major urban centers.
And in April, the press freedom group ranked the country 136th of 180 countries in its world press freedom ratings, blaming “Hindu nationalists trying to purge all manifestations of ‘anti-national’ thought from the national debate.”


Pakistan’s 21-member Cabinet is sworn in, Imran Khan pledges change

Updated 14 min 20 sec ago
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Pakistan’s 21-member Cabinet is sworn in, Imran Khan pledges change

  • President Mamnoon Hussain administered the oath of office to 16 federal ministers in Islamabad
  • Separately, Prime Minister Imran Khan has also appointed five advisers to his Cabinet

ISLAMABAD: Pakistan’s 21-member Cabinet was sworn in Monday, a day after Prime Minister Imran Khan pledged to cut government spending, end corruption and repatriate public funds.
President Mamnoon Hussain administered the oath of office to 16 federal ministers in Islamabad. Separately, Khan has also appointed five advisers to his Cabinet.
Khan, whose populist party won most parliament seats in the July 25 elections but fell short of a majority, forcing it to form a coalition, took the oath of office on Saturday as Pakistan’s 22nd premier. He campaigned on promises of rooting out endemic corruption and breaking powerful landowners’ monopoly on political power.
“I want to see Pakistan a great country” with social services for the poor, Khan said.
Foreign Minister, Shah Mahmood Qureshi, said after taking his oath of office that he is aware of foreign policy challenges ahead. Foreign policy, he said, will be revised and set on the correct path, in the “interest of Pakistan.”
Qureshi said he would reach out to counterparts in the region and focus on key issues of critical importance to Pakistan.
“Pakistan needs a peaceful and stabilized Afghanistan; our future is linked to peace in Afghanistan” Qureshi said. He said he wants to visit Kabul soon with a message that “we have to help and support each other and have to look for solutions of each other’s problems.”
Both neighboring India and Pakistan are nuclear powers and cannot afford any adventure, he said. “We have long standing, complex problems and have no option but to start a dialogue.”
He welcomed that Indian Prime Minister Modi in a congratulatory message to Khan expressed desire for talks.
As for ties with the United States, Qureshi said Pakistan wants bilateral relations based on respect and trust.
US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo is expected to make a stop in Islamabad on his way to India and Afghanistan in the first week of September.
“There is a trust deficit in our relations from both sides and we have to bridge it” Qureshi said of US and Pakistan. “In meetings with the US secretary of state, I will boldly apprise him of our aspirations.”