Subhas Chandra Pattanayak

Who runs the State? You, the Chief Minister? Or the bureaucrats or the police or mafias? This was the question today from the Press to Navin Patnaik, in a protest congregation before the Raj Bhawan.

The Chief Minister had promised a media delegation that had met with him on September 22 that an RDC-level probe will be ordered into arrest of Journalist Laxman Choudhury, which seemingly was an act of vengeance on the part of corrupt police officials posted in Gajapati district who, when their link with Ganja underworld and human trafficking hub was unearthed, tried to terrorize him into silence.

He had assured that the journalist would be relieved from being harassed under mindless police action. But nothing tangible has taken shape as yet.

The scribes at Bhubaneswar feel that the Gajapati police are desperate to save their skin. They have been caught red-handed while playing foul. They have no evidence against Choudhury except a packet of leaflets allegedly sent to him by the Maoists.

On Friday, 9th of October 2009, a delegation of working journalists had shown the CM a similar packet addressed to a Bhubaneswar-based journalist that contained Maoist leaflets. It was the postal department, which delivered the packet! When in Choudhury’s case, the poor bus conductor who acted as the ‘courier’ has been arrested and is in jail, no action has been initiated against the city-based journalist or the courier, the postal department of the Govt of India !!!

It is not impossible that the packet was planted to implicate Choudhury in criminal cases under severe charges like sedition.

Laxman Choudhury had invited trouble for himself. He had the courage to inform the SP and the Collector of the district about the ganja mafia, which enjoyed a free run in Gajapati by bribing the police. He also wrote about the complicity of the local police in cases of trafficking in women.

That is why he incurred the wrath of the police, apprehends senior journalist Sampad Mohapatra.

To the scribes, the chief minister’s writ does not run in the state. The police officers have openly defied his instructions to drop the ‘ridiculous’ charges against Choudhury and that they manage to do without any sense of fear.

Who are the people resisting the CM’s decision to drop the atrocious charges against the journalist, especially when the police have clearly failed to stitch together any credible evidence of his so-called Maoist links?

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