Subhas Chandra Pattanayak
SAMAJA EDITOR CONFESSES HIS FAULT, YET INNOCENT REPORTER LANGUISHES IN JAIL.
Samaja executive editor Satya Ray and printer/publisher Niranjan Rath (allegedly impostures in absence of valid appointment) have confessed in a front page boxed signed declaration in the news daily that they had downloaded Mahammad’s picture from google website and published the same, which precipitated damage of property and credibility of the paper. “WE had taken the published picture from the google website”, their declaration says.
Publication of the picture of Prophet Mahammad is certainly offensive.To the Muslims, he is omnipresent and beyond any conceivable limit. Hence limiting him in a picture is an offense, they feel.
Did Ray and Rath not know this truth? They knew. And knowingly they played this mischief.
On January 14, the Muslim community was observing the holy birthday of their revered Prophet. On that particular day, Samaja hit them with the offensive picture. It was all set to ignite a stupendous communal flare up between the Muslims and Hindus when the city of Cuttack is in advance stage of CMC election, had the Muslims not restricted their expression of wrath to the offensive newspaper only. Thanks only to them, Orissa has been saved from a communal disaster. Yet, in social medias, rabid rightists have been trying to instigate the Hindus against the Muslims raising the boggy of damage of a statue of Gopabandhu in the premises of a Samaja branch office. This indicates that creation of communal passion was the basic aim of downloading the Prophet’s forged photo from the google site and publishing the same in the Samaja.
Shenanigans marked in the Samaja office in the night of January 13 lead us to fear that the publication of the prophet’s forged photo was aimed at provoking a communal conflict.
From Prof. K.C.Tripathy, a very legitimate authority of the organisation, we get that Priyabrata Mohanty, a man alleged to have misappropriated funds of the Samaja by fraudulent means, was very excitedly active in the Samaja campus in the said night, even though his work chart did not require his presence that way.
So, what was Mohanty doing?
Media arm of Hindu communalists
The Samaja is a rightwing conservative paper and a media arm of Brahminism. Its editorship is always vested in the Brahmins.
When, in its entire history, a non-Brahmin fetched the first position in an interview for editorship and was appointed the editor, he was no sooner than that thrown out, despite having given a great, modern and intellectual shape to the daily enhancing its circulation remarkably.
Its last editor Gopal Mohapatra was a Brahmin; but he is a man with a modern outlook. He was to be jettisoned.
In search of a new editor, they contacted a person who, besides being a former higher education teacher and a worthy orator, was an acclaimed editor of a daily newspaper, which he had voluntarily left. The deal was almost settled. But, when the Samaja bosses discovered that his ‘Mohapatra’ surname does not belong to Brahmin caste, but was a Karan title, the idea to take him as the editor was instantly dropped.
After Gopal Mohapatra left, a suitable hand with good public image not available, they brought back to rolls a retired desk journalist Satya Ray as executive editor.
This man is a loyal acolyte of the illegal occupiers of the Samaja.
He was marked for lobbying in the corridors of courts for the Samaja hijackers at Cuttack, despite his posting at Sambalpur, when the illegal occupiers of the paper were facing a lot of litigations.
So, Ray is their trusted man.
Yet, he is denied editorship, as he is not a man of Brahmin caste.
It is disgusting to note that all the life-members of Servants of the People Society, which has captured the paper by forging a Will of its founder, belong to the Brahmin caste.
So, the paper has a typical Hindu caste supremacist identity and design.
Its occupiers are so hard core communal chauvinists that, they feel no qualms in displaying this design in the most assertive way.
When a newspaper is ethically required to be secular, the Samaja proudly displays its Hindu communal chauvinism by sculpturing its entrance gate at the head office with Hindu God Ganesha and Hindu Goddess Saraswati.
Against this backdrop, the 13th January night shenanigans marked in Samaja head office with Prophet Mahammad’s forged photo coming out in the Samaja the very same night to hit the Muslims next morning when they must be celebrating the day of the Prophet’s birth. It was designed to ignite communal fire at a time when Cuttack City is set to have its Municipal election and the State is already on general election mode for the Assembly and the Loksabha.
Police must immediately investigate
When Ray and Rath have confessed that they had downloaded the Prophet’s photo knowing that the same was a forged photo, it is necessary to investigate into their modus operandi. They must be made bound to explain as to why had they downloaded that photo when that was not at all called for and why had the published that photo when that was not at all necessary.
With them, as the trade union of the Samaja employees has demanded, role of the Chief News Coordinator Sushant Mohanty and clinging GM Suresh Mantry needs thorough investigation.
What was Priyabrata Mohanty doing in the night of the printing of the forged photo needs in-depth investigation also.
And, when Ray and Rath admit that they were the persons to have downloaded the forged photo of the Prophet from the google site and had used that, why have they handed over an innocent reporter projecting him as sub-editor before the police, needs also to be investigated into.
Never take it lightly
The offense of the Samaja cannot be taken lightly, specifically as in social media right-wingers are making communally provocative postings in support of the Samaja and right-wing journalists, who never have opposed the ongoing unfair labor practices in blatant violation of employees’ legal rights, are organizing protest rallies as suitable to communal chauvinists that have captured the Samaja.
It can never be accepted that a newspaper like the Samaja has published a communally sensitive forged photo of Prophet Mahammad without application of mind. So, what was in their mind, must have to be unveiled by the investigative wing of the Police.
Arrest them and start the investigation. This is a demand the Government should urgently heed to.