The communal disturbances ignited by the Samaja controllers has shocked the State.
When real culprits are protected by the Police, Jitendra Prasad Das, a very innocent staff reporter purposefully shown as sub-editor, has been thrown into the jail to mislead the public.
Leaders of Utkalmani Newspaper Employees Association (UNEA) have demanded for forthwith release of Das and for immediate arrest of Satya Ray, Niranjan Rath, Sushant Mohanty and Suresh Mantry, who in its views, are the real culprits.
We post below their statement:
“Sri Jitendra Prasad Das a working journalist in position of Staff Reporter of the Samaja is made a scapegoat by wrong-doing executive editor, printer/publisher and General Manager (all impostors) of the paper and has been thrown into the central jail at Chaudwar as an undertrial prisoner, for fault, which he has never committed. The wrong-doing fellows that presently control the Samaja are always using workers as scapegoats.
It is sad that the executive editor who should have owned the responsibility for offensive publication to the chagrin of a minority community, has, to save his skin, treacherously handed over Das to the Police. And the police has acted a puppet in arresting and throwing him into custody jeopardizing his right to personal and press freedom, when he is not at all responsible for the controversial posting in the paper.
The crux of the issue is that a photo allegedly of a sacred path-setter for a minority community, downloaded from Internet, was published in the Samaja in its January 14 edition. Finding it offensive, a delegation of the affected minority community had wanted to meet the general manager of the paper, but was denied audience. This irritated the community that took the conduct of the paper as an affront to their religious distinction and eventually ignited a communal passion leading to severe damage of the properties of paper as well as to its credibility. Dignity of Press was totally shattered for which the executive editor as well as the printer/publisher, news coordinator and the man who poses as the general manager are squarely responsible.
If playing havoc on communal peace and harmony and tranquil of the society is an offense, all the above mentioned four functionaries – they are impostors as there is no legal sanction behind their incumbencies- by their very irresponsible conduct, are the offenders and the police should have arrested, if that was so necessary, any or all these four persons. But, instead of doing that, the police has diverted public attention from the culprits to the entirely innocent reporter.
The UNEA strongly condemns the wrong action of police and calls upon the state to drop the case in which Sri Das has been willfully and falsely implicated.
The severe damage done to the property and credibility of the Samaja because of the highly objectionable and irresponsible conduct of the executive editor (sadly, the premiere paper has no editor) and the printer/publisher, is irreparable. UNEA demands strongest possible penal action specifically against them individually and collectively.
The UNEA therefore calls upon the police to withdraw its case against Das and to immediately arrest the gang of four – Satya Ray, Niranjan Rath, Susant Mohanty and Suresh Mantry – known to the police as Executive Editor, Printer/Publisher, Chief News Coordinator and General manager of Samaja respectively, as otherwise, relevant documents and evidences of their crime may be wiped out.
The UNEA further demands that due steps be immediately taken to ensure safety for Das in the jail as there is treat to his life from prisoners belonging to the irritated minority community.
Devi Prasanna Nayak (President),
Subash Ch. Singh (Gen. Secretary)
Utkalmani Newspaper Employees Association, Cuttack