AGARTALA: He did not survive the assignment, but before bleeding to death, Santanu Bhowmick had sent across his last despatch to office, which his channel played on loop through the day.
Bhowmick, 28, had joined Din Raat, a local news channel, barely three months back. The bureau chief of the channel described him as a go-getter, with a soft personal side.
The young scribe is survived by his mother, a government clerk, who raised him with her younger daughter all by herself, after losing her husband more than a decade ago.
"He had sent a comprehensive despatch on the Indigenous Peoples Front of Tripura-led (IPFT) agitation to office. He was perhaps the only reporter who went ahead to report despite IPFT cadre threatening journalists not to.
"After he filed the story we asked him to return to Agartala. He said he was on his way back. But then there were reports of fresh violence in the area and he went back, may be hunting for an exclusive, never to return again," Samir Dhar, bureau chief of the channel, said.
Journalist Debraj Deb, reporter with a local newspaper, said Bhowmick had entered the profession after graduating from a college in Agartala and had worked with two more channels before.
"Over the last few months, he extensively covered the IPFT agitation, including the 11-day-long blockade of the national highway that had paralysed the land-locked state. He developed a certain degree of expertise on the party," Deb said.
Dhar echoed Debs views, saying that IPFT was Bhowmiks beat, which he covered with exemplary diligence and depth.
"He was associated with the SFI during his college days but had disassociated himself from politics since he started journalism. In fact, the first two channels he worked for were completely anti-left. The current one is perceived to be pro- left but that did not get reflected in his ground reports," Deb said.
Dhar said the young journalist was extremely popular among friends and neighbours and the overwhelming outpouring of grief when his body was taken to his village was reflective of that.
"What I saw when his body reached his village is something I have never seen before. Each and every individual, be it a 10-year-old or an elderly, was crying. No one could hold back their tears," Dhar said, his voice choking.
Bhowmick was yesterday killed in Mandai in West Tripura district. While covering the agitation at Mandai, he was hit from behind and abducted.
Later, he was found with serious stab injuries and was rushed to Agartala Medical College and Hospital where doctors declared him brought dead.