Our stand finds support in steps taken by State-level scribes

Subhas Chandra Pattanayak

Orissa Government’s de facto destruction of the accredited journalists’ entitlement to have access to sources of information in the secretariat (Lok Seva Bhawan) and other headquarters offices has been strongly condemned by the community of scribes in a silent demonstration before the State Information Centre (Renamed Jayadev Bhawan) on June 17, before submition of a formal “request” to the Chief Minister to withdraw the mischivous secret order that “hinders” entry of the media persons into the headquarters office of the government.

Our observation on this blatantly illegal behaviour of the Government deserves deep cogitation at this critical moment. Below is the link:

Orissa in Dark//Worst-ever infringement of Freedom of Press

The Chief Minister ought to understand that freedom of Press is the mainstay of democracy and any political attempt to do away with it would never be tolerated.

Orissa in Dark//Worst-ever infringement of Freedom of Press

Subhas Chandra Pattanayak

“Keeping in mind the personal safety and health of media personnel and containment of any possible infection”, all media personnel are requested to abide by following advisories:
1. Media persons are requested not to visit the point of arrival i.e.railway station or check points.
2. Media persons are also requested not to visit the quarantine centre or isolation centre.”

With this mschivous order captioned “Advisory relating to return of stranded Odia people”, addressed to all the Print, Electronic, Web and Social Media Houses and all Accredited Correspondents, issued on 2.5.2020 has begun the most dangerous infringement of Freedom of Press in Orissa, in the guise of controlling COVID-19

Clandestine Order

Under oral orders from CMO, whose order it is nobody knows, the State level accredited journalists are denied entry into the Secretariat (Lok Seva Bhawan) by the Police guarding the gates, which is the worst ever arbitrary administrative attempt to quash Freedom of Press in Orissa. This is worse than what had happened during the declared emergency under Smt. Indira Gandhi.

During that period, we were subjected to censor. We were asked to submit our reports to the censor officer for clearance before publication. But we were never stopped from access to source of information. By denying us entry into the Secretariat, over and above the places mentioned in the quoted advisory, the government has debarred us from having access to source of information.

Worse than emergency

On March 18, the State Government promulgated ‘The Odisha COVID-19 Regulations 2020’. Under Section 4 thereof it stipulated: “No person/institution/organization will use print or electronic/social media for dissemination of any information regarding COVID-19 without ascertaining the facts and prior clearance of the DMET/DPH/DHS or Collector as the case may be. It will be treated as a punishable offence under these Regulations.

This Regulation was amended on April 3 to make it more rigorous. In section 4, it laid down:”No person / Institution / organization will use any print/ electronic/ social media for information regarding COVID-19 without prior permission of the DMET, DPH, DHS or Collector or Medical Superintendent as the case may be. This is to avoid spread of any unauthenticated information and/or rumors regarding COVID-19. If any person / Institution / organization is found indulging in such activity, it will be treated as a punishable offence under these Regulations and other provisions of Law.”

Thus, the Press is ordered to have “prior permission” to report on the disaster that affects the entire population of Orissa. This is worse than the emergency period inasmuch as prior permission to report any event was not required at that time. Even if there was any report on malfunctioning of government, there was no provision for punishment against any media person/media organisation for such report.

Go to Jail, Pay Penalty

If you fail to obey the Government orders while discharging your duties to democracy, you shall be punished like a criminal, the Govt. has told the journalists, which means, if you do not report as would be pleasing to the administration and displease the official functionaries by not suppressing the facts of misrule or maladies in governance, you shall go to jail and pay penalty.

This threat to journalists is discernible in the April 3 amendment of the COVID-19 regulation. The term “Other provisions of Law” added to Section 4 of the Regulation means cash penalty and incarceration as stipulated in the The Epidemic Diseases (Amendment) Ordinance 2020 promulgated in amending the Epidemic Diseases Act, 1897. When the Act had provided for simple imprisonment for a term which may extend to one month or with fine which may extend to two hundred rupees, or with both, the Ordinance has imposed imprisonment up to two years or with a fine of up to Rs 10,000 or with both. This torturing Ordinance is the “Other provisions of Law” the journalists are threatened with in the amended Regulation, quoted supra.

History of anti-Press attitude

The present regime is marked for its anti-Press attitude. The following articles throw enough light on this –

Let not Accreditation be a Fantoccini Farce

Status of 87 % Journalists in Orissa under diminution

Anarchy in accreditation: Govt. pretermits Assemby, obliterates journalists’ participation

Press accreditation fracas in Orissa

And, lastly has come this secret instruction from the CMO to deny the accredited journalists access to sources information for reporting on governance, which is the primary duty of the Press.

What is accreditation?

The Government of Orissa has defined accreditation in the following words:

“Accreditation” means recognition of Representatives of News Media Organisations by the Government of Orissa for the purpose of access to sources of information in the Government and also to news materials, written or pictorial, released by, or on behalf of the Director of Information & Public Relations and/or other agencies of the Government of Orissa.

Admittance without any hindrance

According to the Press Council of India accreditation is:

“Recognition granted to Correspondents/Editors of Media organisations (as defined in sub clause iv) to have access to news materials, written and pictorial; to offices and officers of the Government at the Headquarters and other centres for gathering news; access for laws, rules, notifications, press releases, background papers, etc. of the activities of the government; for invitations and admittance without any hindrance to functions, press conferences, statutory events and other activities of the government; facilities in terms of travel, research, documentation, etc. relating to news-gathering.

It is sad that the Government of Orissa, instead of ensuring for the accredited journalists admittance in to the Secretariat, to offices and officers of the Government at the Headquarters and other centres for gathering news without any hindrance, is causing hindrance under oral orders of the CMO.

Will the CM please personally look into and nullify this worst sort of infringement of Freedom of Press?

Naveen plays dangerous game against Orissa in the name of State Anthem

Subhas Chandra Pattanayak

Impromptus declaration of Bande Utkal Janani as State Anthem is a dangerous game Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik has played against the people, just to show himself off as pro-Oriya, when we showed that his anti-Oriya attitude is the main factor of COVID-19 engulfing the State.

It is bad in Law and a breach of the privileges of the Orissa Legislative Assembly.

There is a valid instruction of the Speaker to the Home department to introduce a Bill to make the song the State Anthem, which has been pending since 26.8.2006.Hence, the Cabinet decision dated 7.6.2020 to declare the song State Anthem is a direct assault on the privilege of the Assembly and would create a bad precedence, if the Chief Minister is not taken to task for this contempt against the sovereign House.

The issue of making the song the State Anthem has its origin in the design of former minister Nityananda Mohapatra, son of the author Kantakabi Laxmikant Mohapatra, to fetch an handsome amount of money towards the value of copyright and royalty over the song. For generating a congenial situation for this, he had influenced Sarat Kumar Kar, Speaker of the 12th Assembly of Orissa through noted musician Santanu Mohapatra. Accordingly, Sri Kar had urged upon the members to adopt the song as the last business of every session, which was carried.

The initial strategy thus succeeding, Mohapatra wrote a letter to the Assembly Secretary on 7.5.2003 canvasing for a handsome amount of money towards the cost of copyright, correction and editing of the song as well as royalty. He had earmarked 3 stanzas to be sung as State Anthem to fit into the time frame. Those stanzas, as informed by Santanu Mohapatra, were 1, 4 and 6. They were adopted in the meeting held by the Speaker on 10.5.2003.

Copyright conflict

But, when the Assembly wrote a letter to the Director, All India Radio, Cuttack vide No.12790/LA dt.19.6.2003 for “the original manuscript of the lyrics” and “the original tune” of the song available with AIR, “for selection of specific stanzas of the song”, it transpired that Nityananda Mohapatra and his family had no copyright over it, the same having been sold away to All India Radio by the author himself during his lifetime.

Discovery of this copyright conflict, which Sri Nityanand Mahapatra had suppressed in his letter, dissuaded Sri Kar to proceed further.

His successor Maheswar Mohanty had faced the same dilemma and had very tactfully avoided the payment issue by shifting the responsibility from his shoulder to the Assembly. He had issued an order on 26.8.2006 that a Bill should be introduced in the next session of the Assembly by the Home department “to give recognition and statutory status to the song as State Anthem” which should be “in the light of National Anthem Act.”

Naveen Patnaik being the Home Minister had ignored the Speaker’s order. But the instruction is still valid and whether or not the song should be the State Anthem depends upon the Legislative Assembly under the Order passed by the Speaker on 26.8.2006.

The political climate of Orissa has changed a lot from the time of the author of this song. Despite my researched elaboration on the word ‘Utkal’ the term is facing stiff opposition from people of the highlands. I had suggested for use of the word ‘Orissa” in the caption of the song. But the Government, it seems, has no ears for good advice. It seems, he wants to engage people in controversy over Utkal or Orissa, while continuing to kill the Oriya Language by atrophying the Orissa Official Language Act through wrongful amendments.

The dangerous game against Orissa has just begun.

Political misuse of the revered song BANDE UTKALA JANANI

Subhas Chandra Pattanayak

Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik is guilty of political misuse of the revered song ‘Bande Utkala Janani’, which had immensely contributed to linguistic nationalism culminated in creation of India’s first linguistic State Orissa.

If Corona virus is affecting more and more people in Orissa, he is politically responsible for this.

His obnoxious hatred for the language of the people,is so deep-rooted and dense that, despite our repeated requests in these pages and in the pages of bhashaandolan.com over and above social media,which his government also uses, he kept 93% of the population in dark about the virus by putting all the medical and official Guidance-documents, Rules and Regulations, Acts and official actions in English language, which the people do not know. This has ruined our people.

Exposed threadbare by us, as his anti-Oriya mindset has multiplied the debacle, his government has now pushed the people into fate syndrome in matter of Corona and resorted to a new game of hoodwinking by returning to inject religious feel-good-factor centering Jagannath Temple at Puri, Lingaraj Temple at Bhubaneswar and Samalei Temple at Sambalpur etc. Calling upon the people, in the line of PM Modi, to recite Bande Utkala Janani,the song of Oriya nationalism, to honor “Corona warriors” viz. medical doctors, paramedics and police and the likes, on May 30, was a tact used in this respect.

Who is Corona warrior?

The medical doctors, paramedics et al are paid for the service they are rendering. Even to fall ill while serving Corona patients is a part of the duty they are being paid for. The Government has illogically loaded them on the psyche of the general public as Corona warriors, while continuing to torture the the real warriors – the migrant workers – and the Engish-ignorant working population of Orissa, who have been physically fighting the dreaded virus in order just to survive. Sad, the Chief Minister has no word of praise for these real heroes.

Bhasha Maa Pain Pade, the new social media face of Bhasha Andolan had wanted me to react to this mischief, which our friends have watched in Facebook. I am putting it here for the august visitors to these pages. My talk follows a little display of the real warriors against the disaster. Here is the link:

Ban on Press be immediately withdrawn

Subhas Chandra Pattanayak

The people of Orissa have the right to know how the Corona (COVID-19) care camps and hospitals are functioning.

Migrant-workers’ protest against mismanagement of camps they are shepherded into is often reaching social media through their mobile phones. It pains the heart to see that, they are forced to beg apologies for their protest.

Question is: who forced them to apologize? The people have a right to know this and any/every such murky events that occur in what the Government projects as Corona care.

On 2 May 2020, Government of Orissa has debarred the Press from locating the lacunae in the matter of Corona care. We had forthwith raised the issue and had strongly disapproved the denial of right to be informed on this mega danger to the people of Orissa.

Despite our repeated demands for sharing all the relevant guidelines and laws on what facilities they are entitled to during the stay in Corona Care Centers vis-a-vis what the State expects of them, all the official documents are in English, a language that they do not know. They do not know whether they are confined in the care centers to be pinched only or to have any medicine for immunity enhancement and counseling for morale boosting that is so very essential in meeting a crisis like COVID-19. They do not know anything about their entitlement as citizens, because they have been kept in dark by not being informed of the official guidelines in their mother tongue. Whosoever is under enforced quarantine in these centers could have been given by the authorities copies of minimum instructions in Oriya so that they might have known what to have and what to do in the camps. This minimum has not been done by the State, because of Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik’s aversion for the language of the people.

Mismanagement thus galore, the ban on reporting the camps needs be immediately withdrawn.We hope, the Chief Minister understands his mistakes and allows the Press free assess to anywhere to see for the people how the crisis is being addressed to.

Oriya Language created Orissa and therefore Orissa must be ruled by Oriya Language

Subhas Chandra Pattanayak

Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik seems to have developed a wrong notion that governance of Orissa in Oriya depends upon his mercy. His press-note of December 17 and full page display advertisement in major broadsheets of today force us to arrive at this apprehension.

In his December 17 press note it was declared that he had held a meeting with the five members of the ministerial committee on that day for the purpose of “strictly implementing the Orissa Official Language Act, 1954 in official and non-official level” to facilitate which a website has been floated by the government. In the full page multi-color advertisement in broadsheet dailies today, this is intriguingly missing.

The advertisement is designed to tell the people that Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik has taken historical steps to save and develop Oriya language, and has enumerated the steps he has taken. This is blatant lie. Neither he nor his government has executed any single item claimed to be “historical” in the official advertisement. The entire advertisement is nothing but false propaganda. What a shame it is, that, the people of Orissa are taken for granted by their Chief Minister! Read more →

Navakalevara: Legends and reality

Subhas Chandra Pattanayak

Legends are the most misguiding mischief aimed at superimposing lies on reality so that indigenous people of an occupied land are kept too dazzled to see the dark face of the rulers and the class of exploiters can keep its victims subjugated to its authority, while forcing them to forget the heroic history of evolution of their own philosophy of life, their own splendid spiritual realizations, their own socio-economic uniqueness, their own ancient culture, their own valorous past, their own way of social integration and their own civilization.

We see this mischief galore in the context of Navakalevara of SriJagannatha.

So, here, we are to rip apart the legends and bring the reality of the Navakalevara to light, as thereby alone we can reach the lost uniqueness of the people of Orissa.

We will use Puri Sankaracharya’s self-proclaimed authority over Navakalevara to proceed with our purpose.

  Read more →

Samaja in Maze of Forgery: Two former Ministers of Orissa – Lingaraj Mishra & Radhanath Rath forged the WILL of Gopabandhu; Both benefitted till their death; SoPS continues to Loot

Subhas Chandra Pattanayak

The Oriya daily SAMAJA founded by late Utkalmani Pandit Gopabandhu Das, to which, out of their love and reverence for the great humanitarian leader, the people of Orissa had and have been giving their financial and moral support, is in a menacing maze of forgery and loot.

Sadly, two of Gopabandhu’s trusted men – Lingaraj Mishra and Radhanath Rath – who, because of being known so, had the opportunity of becoming cabinet ministers in Orissa, were the masterminds and/or makers of the forgery from which the paper is yet to be salvaged.

Both of them – Lingaraj and Radhanath – had partnered with each other in forging the last WILL of Gopabandhu to grab the Samaja, which being Gopabandhu’s paper was of superb credibility and the greatest political instrument of the day. They had performed this crime behind the screen of and in nexus with Servants of the People Society (SoPS), of which, while breathing his last, Gopabandhu was the Vice-President. Read more →