AGARTALA: As the three-day deadline set by the journalists to withdraw his comments against the media ended, Tripura Chief Minister Biplab Kumar Deb has said he didn't threaten anybody but wanted to alert people against "propaganda and conspiracies" as part of which "monkeys are often turned into tigers or tigers are turned into monkeys".
But, dissatisfied journalists on Wednesday said they would continue with their protest on the issue and approach Governor R K Bais, Union Home Minister Amit Shah and the Editors Guild of India.
Standing his ground, Deb said Tuesday that his comments were not to insult or hurt anyone but to alert people so that they do not fall prey to propaganda and conspiracies.
The CM, while laying the foundation stone for the first special economic zone at Sabroom in South Tripura district on Friday, had said, "Some newspapers are trying to confuse people, getting over excited. History will not forgive them, people of Tripura will not forgive them and I, Biplab Deb, will not forgive them."
"I do whatever I say, history is testimony to that."
The speech, which went viral on social media, quickly drew ire of scribes, who held a meeting on Sunday under the aegis of Tripura Assembly of Journalists and decried Deb's comments.
"We condemn the undemocratic and unconstitutional comments from the chief minister. We hope he will withdraw his remark within the next three days," TAJ Chairperson Subal Kumar Dey had said.
The chief minister said he tried to present the "truth" before people and keep them morally upbeat, safe and healthy and prevent them from stepping into conspiracies.
The TAJ chairperson claimed that journalists are facing threat and being assaulted in different parts of Tripura following Deb's statement.
"Two journalists have been assaulted in the state within 24 hours of Chief Ministers speech. The media fraternity is deeply anxious and have decided to approach Governor R K Bais, Union Home Minister Amit Shah and the Editors Guild of India," he said.
"The state is trying to enslave media persons. State government orders are issued to choke journalists' voices," Dey, who is also the president of Agartala Press Club, said.
Deb said, "It should be seen what the CM has said. It doesnt serve the purposes by saying who is which pillar of democracy. We all know that. Responsibilities of such people should be understood as well."
"It should be analysed if we are able to render our responsibilities properly or we have got shortfalls. We should introspect on this. The CM also said his government doesnt act arrogantly and introspects on its actions."
"I didnt want to hurt anyone in my speech at Sabroom. I am committed to protect the interests of people of Tripura and keep them safe, healthy, save them from falling prey to conspiracies. If I dont say, who will tell? If the head of the state doesnt speak up, people will assume that whatever is being said is the reality."
"Often, monkeys are turned into tigers and tigers are turned into monkeys in propaganda. The truth has to be kept before people. I have just tried to present the truth, Deb said explaining his comments."
Reacting to CM's comments, the TAJ chairman said "It seems he has tried to sweep the issue under the carpet. We are not satisfied with it. We shall reconvene a meeting in two days and decide on our next course of action."
Convener of TAJ, Sekhar Datta said, "Our organisation has decided to submit a memorandum to the Governor of Tripura Ramesh Bais soon and International Federation of Journalists (IFJ) and Commonwealth Human Rights Initiative would also be apprised of the matter."