The Samaja tangle: Trade Union leaders framed up in cooked up cases: State a silent spectator!

Subhas Chandra Pattanayak
The President of Utkalmani Newspaper Employees Association and sub-editor of Utkalmani Gopabandhu Das’ great gift to Orissa, the Samaja, Sri Devi Prasanna Nayak is in judicial custody since 26 March 2013 apparently as a lady sub-editor namely Mamata Bisoi alleged that he along with others outraged her modesty.

From the order of S.D.J.M. (Sadar), Cuttack, before whom Devi and the co-accused Braja Bhai were produced the same day, it transpires that bail was rejected because Mamata has given a statement to the effect that “getting information, when she went to the spot”, the accused persons “pulled her Saree, caught hold of her, squeezed her breast and assaulted her, for which she sustained severe injuries on her head and her left of body”.

To the Magistrate, “the above facts and gravity of the alleged offence” were such that he was “not inclined to release the accused persons on bail”.

Was she really tortured by Devi and the co-accused as she has stated?

Our investigation convinces us that she has given false statements to misuse the judicial system against the accused persons for reasons yet to manifest.

If pictures can say, they say emphatically that Mamata’s statement is nothing but concocted.

IMG_1055If getting the information she had come to the “spot”, the spot was full of police personnel and members of the Samaja staff. Eye witnesses say, she had come with her brother and another woman.

Let us look at a few other pictures:

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The police was in discussion with Kishore Tripathy, Devi Pr. Nayak, Niranjan Rath, Bhimsen Jadav etc.

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As Devi was in discussion with the police along with others, Mamata was having talks with police and someone known as her brother at the Samaja entrance.

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She was seen giving some instructions to someone whom she says to be her brother.

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At that time, police was discussing with Braja Bhai.

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Soon thereafter, Police wanted Devi and Braja bhai to come with them to the DCP for further discussion on how to solve the Samaja tangle.

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And, then took him and Devi to the DCP where they were declared arrested.

And, where and when, despite their heavy presence, they “pulled her saree, caught hold of her, squeezed her breast, assaulted her thereby causing her head injury and injury on her left, as alleged by her?

We have talked to many persons present on the spot and all of them say that Mamata has given false statements. Devi is a person of good moral character and neither he nor Braja Bhai nor anybody else has misbehaved with her as alleged.

Taking advantage of the lacuna in judicial system that allows magistrates to refuse bail without examining if there is prima facie reason to disbelieve the accusations, the police have picked up the General Secretary of the Association Sri Subash Chandra Singh on April 13 reportedly on the same ground and hounding some other leaders of the trade union too.

The Trade Union that Devi and Subash lead has been fighting against unfair labor practices, which the Samaja management has been perpetrating against the employees in blatant and criminal contravention of the Industrial Standing Orders Act.. There are many such employees who have been regularly working for the paper for decades without being regularized and sans payment in time scale and the Union has raised industrial disputes against such illegalities. Therefore the occupiers of the Samaja want Devi and his team get out of the scope for fighting for the employees and therefore, they have subjected Devi and his friends to cooked up cases. Earlier, they had subjected Devi to a domestic enquiry on concocted charges and had instructed the security personnel not to allow him entry into the Samaja office to keep him absent from enquiry! When thus Devi was debarred from defending himself, Mamata was presented as the management witness and from what she told the enquiry officer, it was clear that she holds either personal grudge against Devi or was eager to oblige prosecutors of Devi by vomiting their versions against him. So, there is reason to believe that her statement to Police and later to a magistrate is prompted and vitiated with motive and antagonism.

If the Government is not irresponsible, it should review the case against Devi and others and correct the wrong done to them by ensuring that false prosecution is not supported by the State.

It is time for the State also to save the Samaja from fraudsters. The fellows that have kept the paper in their capture have swindled crores of rupees from the revenue of the paper as figured even in the report of the Enquiry Committee headed by Justice Arijit Pashayat. The State Government should call for this report and initiate necessary action as fraud is being played upon the people of Orissa – the real financiers of the paper – by the Samaja occupiers. It would be wrong if the State stays a silent spectator.

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