Subhas Chandra Pattanayak

It was not an accidental attack. It was deliberate. It was calculatedly carried out. But the gunmen missed the target. The only woman heading the most popular satellite channel in Northeast India escaped unhurt.

Ms. Manoranjana Sinha, Chairperson-cum-Managing Director of NETV, herself a brilliant journalist, is safe; because the bullets could not hit her in the night of February 10, 2008. Gunmen from inside a vehicle, obviously following Ms. Sinha, opened fire at her and sped away as demonically as devil could have devised.

Who were they? Only the Police can say; because at both the ends of the road that trembled under the shooting sounds in that chilly night, there was going on security checking by the Police when Ms. Sinha was being fired at.

NETV, the largest media house in the northeastern region, highlights the plights of the people that obviously irks the government.

Chief Minister Mr. Tarun Gogoi who represents the Congress heads the government of Assam, the State to which Prime Minister Dr. Man Mohan Singha owes his incumbency.

Such a State is not expected to be having inefficient Police. Therefore, when Police has not yet apprehended the culprits, though they must have been inspected in the security check posts at both the ends of the road they used for the attack on Ms. Sinha and thus must have been within the Police knowledge, people look at administration askance.

We greet Ms. Sinha for her commitment and courage.

She has tried to make NETV the media of the people of Northeast India and perhaps therefore she has been subjected to attack by anti-people networks. She has braved bullets in the cause of journalism and has made the community of dedicated scribes proud of her.

But Journalists are legally not empowered to apprehend the culprits. If Gogoi does not rise to the occasion, attack on Press being an attack on democracy, Prime Minister Dr. Man Mohan Singh who represents Assam ought to play his role.

The role he is playing against active opponents of economic disparity is discernible. He has defined the foes of Free Economy as Red Viruses! He has given a call and has been providing money from national exchequer to eliminate these “Viruses”. He should now define as to which category of virus the attackers on Free Press embodied by Ms. Sinha belong and should take steps that need be more stringent than that against what he calls the Red Virus; because foes of Free Economy are not the foes of the people; but certainly are the scoundrels who gun attacked Ms. Sinha.

Even as the gory incidence needs national action, his own party being in power in Assam, Prime Minister Dr. Singh would no doubt be looked at with much watchfulness and curiosity, specifically as the people would like to know in which category of virus he places the opponents of Free Press.

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