Subhas Chandra Pattanayak
The people of Orissa on whose contributions Utkalmani’s newspaper ‘The Samaja’ runs, are being force-fed with condemnation of the Police over its failure to act against the people of Pipili who had obstructed the traffic on Bhubaneswar-Puri road on January 05 at the appliqué square, where one of the gang of alleged hijackers of the paper, Sri Niranjan Rath is said to have been hackled for a news that damaged the area image.
The Samaja asserts that ruling party MLA of Pipili Pradip Maharathi had instigated the people to burn the paper and to hackle Sri Rath when he was on his way to Puri.
In the next day edition, editor of the paper had apologized to people of Pipili in a front page box for the embarrassment caused to them by publishing a wrong information, though, according him, that was not intentional. But he simultaneously editorialized on necessity of the Chief Minister sizing the MLA of his party.
Yet, on the following day it stressed on arrest of Sri Maharathi.
Opinions generated in its favor were also given full page publicity on January 07.
Today, the paper begins with a banner castigating the Police for no action on allegation against the MLA and the people of Pipili.
Precious news space is also massively misspent on Rath’s byline streamer in expression of gratitude to whosoever has condemned the action of the people of Pipili.
Thus, the allegedly illegitimate occupiers of ‘The Samaja’, who use the name of the Servants of the People Society (SoPS) to brandish their authority over the paper, have been condemning the Police for having not taken action against the Pipili MLA and the Pipili people.
But the Samaja scenario has two sides involving the occupiers of The Samaja and the Police.
The legitimate authority of SoPS, Prof. K.C.Tripathi has filed information on criminal activities of these fellows on the basis of investigations conducted by an inquiry committee headed by Justice Arijit Pasayat, retired Judge of the Supreme Court of India and other evidences gathered through in-house investigations and located in files of The Samaja as well as its sister organizations.
Tripathi’s allegations have been registered as FIRs in Economic Offense Wing of Delhi Crime Branch, Khuntuni Police Station in the Cuttach Rural Police District as well as in the Cantonment Police Station of Cuttack City.
But, the cases are left in the lurch, as the very same fellows are in a position to browbeat the investigating officers.
The Director General of Police of the State knows that the two Police Stations under his control are sleeping over the cases against these fellows.
The allegations are so serious that if the police would not have been put under leash, the criminal law jurisprudence system could have been invoked since long against the very same persons that are misusing news space of The Samaja in condemning the police for lack of prompt action against the people of Pipili and their MLA.
These fellows are accused in cases registered in various Police Stations.
I would like to focus on the Cantonment P.S. for the time being.
The Inspector-in-charge of this P.S. is so very afraid of media power under the command of these occupiers of The Samaja, that, he is not even daring to rise up, in spite of judicial directions from the High Court of Orissa. Even information filed by a low paid machine helper of the paper, Surendra Behera, against criminal intimidation and forceful detention by a man appointed as an inquiry officer, in his attempt to cultivate proofs against innocent employees, is thrown into the dustbin of the P.S. without being registered.
The fellows including ministers that have condemned Maharathi and the people of Pipili for their protest against the The Samaja ought to know that foul play on their area image had given birth to that mass action in a conniption.
If thereby, that was an attack on freedom of Press, how are they going to treat the police inaction against transformation of The Samaja into a sanctuary of fellows accused of serious crimes involving forgery and embezzlement of the Samaja funds?
Will they respond to allegations that freedom of Press is used to muzzle the Police in the cases raised against these fellows by Prof. Tripathi as well as by the machine helper Sri Behera?
It is time for all lovers of freedom of Press and rule of law to look at these both sides of the Samaja scenario and to force the Police to act against the miscreants that have been misusing media power to muzzle the Police in matter of allegations against themselves on the one hand and on the other, to reprimand the police for failure to act against whosoever they want to prosecute.
The Police should also make their position clear.