The Tripura Assembly of Journalists has written to Prime Minister Narendra Modi, Union Home Minister Amit Shah and the Press Council of India, seeking their intervention regarding Chief Minister Biplab Kumar Deb’s alleged threat to journalists, the Hindustan Times reported on Wednesday.

“Some newspapers are publishing confusing news related to Covid-19 medical management,” Deb had said at the foundation stone laying ceremony for a Special Economic Zone in Sabroom on September 11. “Neither history will forgive them nor will I forgive them. These media houses and newspapers are spreading fake news and scaring people.” Deb also claimed that the media was confusing people of Tripura with their “overexcited reporting”.

The Tripura Assembly of Journalists told Modi, Shah and the Press Council of India that at least six journalists were assaulted across the state since Deb’s controversial remarks. They added that though complaints were filed, the police have taken no action. The journalists had held a protest wearing black ribbons on October 2.

“Even during the Emergency in the 70s, the media didn’t face such a demoralising situation,” the letter said. “The media is an independent body of newspapers, electronic channels and news portals, which follow their own in-house policy and guidelines...the attack on journalists and creation of undue pressure on the media are undemocratic.”

Tripura Assembly of Journalists chairperson Subal Kumar Dey and convener Sekhar Datta signed the letter.

The Tripura Assembly of Journalists had on October 2 demanded that the government retract the order gagging administration officials against speaking to the media. They demanded that Deb withdraw his remarks, apologise and ensure that the assaulted journalists get justice.

Deb, however, claimed that he never intended to threaten journalists. He claimed his comments were an attempt to save the people of Tripura from “falling prey to propaganda and conspiracies”.