Doctor of Criminal Conduct Set Free after Arrest, as Law Patronizes Illegalities in the Name of Law

Subhas Chandra Pattanayak

Anarchy has many faces.

One face is Dr. Prafulla Kumar Patra, a government physician, who, instead of working at the place of his posting in a different district, has been operating a private clinic and hospital styled “The Child Nursing Home” at Bargarh.

He was arrested by the police under various sections of Indian Penal Code for serious criminal conduct; but has been enlarged on bail.

This has happened in the area to which the state health minister belongs; but surprisingly no departmental disciplinary action is yet taken against him.

On June 19, his Nursing home had attracted attention of the local media as plight of a poor man who had admitted his child there revealed financial exploitation and treachery in health care by the government doctor in his private hospital. As media persons tried to verify the truth, they were brutally beaten up by Dr. Patra and his family members.

The Bargarh Sambadik Sangha as well as the Media Unity for Freedom of Press had raised strong protests against such attack on journalists on duty by a Doctor who is not joining his duty on transfer.

His offenses are grave and punishable with imprisonment and fine. But the Orissa High Court was pleased to grant him anticipatory bail. The police arrested him and because of the anticipatory bail, released him.

Law has an inherent bizarre facet that helps illegalities get patronized by law in the name of law and unscrupulous fellows take advantage thereof to stay free despite having perpetrated serious crimes.

But who has stopped the health department to discipline the errant doctor, who runs a private hospital instead of joining his place of posting, that too in the very own place of the State Health Minister?

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MUFP WHITE PAPER RELEASED: MUZZLING VOICES OF DISSENT HAS NEVER BEEN MORE BRAZEN

“The media as an entity and Freedom of Speech and Expression as a Fundamental Right are under grave threat from the ruling establishment”, says the ‘White Paper on attack on Media’ in Orissa, released by Media Unity for Freedom of Press (MUFP) on Saturday.

Introducing the White Paper, MUFP coordinator Prasanta Patnaik expressed deep dismay over ever increasing threat to freedom of Press as Orissa Government has not yet taken any specific step to curb this crime. Police has not only helped the rowdies that have attacked the media persons, but also encouraged cooked up counter allegations against the attacked print, electronic and photo journalists, Patnaik alleged.

MUFP has enumerated events of attack on Media in details in the White Paper and also brought out its digital version in a CD.

Both the publications were released by eminent author and editor of Samaya, Sri Satakadi Hota in the function organized for the purpose at the Lohia Academy auditorium in presence of print media editors and electronic media heads as well as the Bhubaneswar based journalists.

The dignity and freedom of the fourth estate must be protected and fortified at any cost if democratic sovereignty of people is to be saved, said Sri Hota, who also is a member of the MUFP Media Advisory Panel.

MUFP presidium member Subhas Chandra Pattanayak described the event as historic inasmuch as in history of Orissa there was never such collective concern expressed by press persons against attack on Press in Orissa.

“A major reason behind the spurt in attacks on media persons in Orissa”, says the MUFP White Paper, “is the state government’s growing intolerance to any view that does not toe the government line on corporate and mining interests –particularly those dealing in precious metals like iron ore and bauxite. These companies, people are told, will usher in ‘rapid development’, create enormous employment opportunities and make Orissa a land of milk and honey. There is a concerted effort to manufacture consensus on the need to roll out the red carpet to these companies and turn a blind eye to their flagrant violation of all laws and norms of civilized corporate behavior. When media persons refuse to buy this line and raise questions on the acts of omission and commission by the government and the corporates, the wrath of the government falls on them like a ton of bricks.

“Stray attacks on individual journalists by the powers that be have long ceased to raise eyebrows in Orissa, just as it has done in the rest of the country. But in the last five years, the attacks have become more frequent, more widespread and more vicious. A distinct pattern has begun to emerge in the targeting of journalists in the state. It is no more directed at the stray journalist toeing a stridently anti-government line; it is now a systematic attempt to identify and punish all journalists or groups of journalists, who may have an opinion that may not be to the liking of the ruling political and bureaucratic class. Muzzling voices of dissent has never been more brazen.

“The assault on the Freedom of the Press has become particularly vicious in the last two years. Journalists have been hounded; assaulted; insulted; humiliated; put on surveillance; beaten up (either by goons or by the police and sometimes by both); charged with ‘sedition’ and ‘waging war against the State’ and much worse. Even lady reporters have not been spared. There is an audacity on display, which is deeply worrying in a functioning democracy.  It is as if the political-bureaucratic-corporate class has got a firm assurance from someone that nothing will happen to them no matter how brazen the attack is. That is why Bhubaneswar Police Commissionerate can single out a particular journalist of a leading Odia daily and bar his entry into a Press Meet by the Commissioner; or the supposedly ‘long’ arm of the law stops well short of a minister’s son – despite assaulting a journalist in full public view and being named in the FIR lodged by the concerned journalist”.

The White paper has recorded the physical attacks perpetrated on media persons as well as cooked up gruesome cases instituted against them by or through the police at different time in chronological order.  The victimized media persons focused in the White Paper include Kirti Chandra Sahu, Khuturam Sunani,  Meghanad Kharsel , Lenin Ray, Laxman Choudhury, Sriharsha Mishra,  Kirana Mishra, Jagannath Bastia, Banka Bihari Bishoi, Dinesh Das , Ashok Pradhan, Bolan Gangopadyaya, Abhay Pati, Dandapani Mohapatra,  Amulya Kumar Pati, Manas Jena, Sujit Mullick, Chandrakanta Das, Biranjan Mallik, Jagadananda Pradhan, Prasanta Patnaik, Akhand, Bhabani Das, Suryamani Mishra, Debasis Mallik, Ramnarayan Das, Srikanta Sahoo, Somanath Sahu, Kiran,  Prasanta, NM Baisakh, Anup Ray and Rajat Ranjan Das over and above the groups of journalist brutally attacked and injured by goons of Silicon Institute of Technology   (SIT) such as Rohan of Kanak TV who received serious head injury, by medicos at MKCG Medical College, by Biju Janata Dal hooligans at Bhapur of Nayagarh district and at Banki of Cuttack district. A lady journalist – name kept hidden – molested by uniformed men at ISCON car festival, Bhubaneswar is also noted in the White Paper. The media organizations arbitrarily debarred by the police  from covering events of public importance include Arromv and Dharitri whereas the police had attempted to project Suryaprava negatively by arresting its publisher on uninvestigated charges of cheating. The case of Bhubaneswar based EPA Weekly being subjected to group hooliganism is also placed in the White Paper.

Srimay Kar (Resident Editor, New Indian Express), Soumyajit Patnaik, (Chief Editor, OTV),  Ashok Mohapatra, (Chief of MBC Tv), Prafulla Das ( The Hindu),  Sandeep Sahu, (BBC), Manoranjan Mishra, (OTV), Gopal Mohapatra (Sambad), Basudev Mohapatra (HOTnHIT Newsfeatures), Ipsita Kumar Pratihari (Seashore TV), Madhu Mohanty (Odisha Bhaskar),  Rashmi Mohapatra (Amari Katha)  Girija Shankar Dash (Surya Prava),  Kedar Mishra  (Anupam Bharat) Lambodar Prasad Dash (Aaromv),   Bhabani Shankar Parija (Amari Katha), Rajesh Samantaray (Kanak TV), Bijay Ketan Baral (Seashore TV), Malaya Ranjan Mohanty,  Prasanna Kumar Behera, Monalisha Mishra, Kiran Kumar Kanungo,  Bishnupriya Dash and a number of media persons representing print, electronic and web media attended the meeting.

Action Needed Against Inaction of Police: Kanak Tv Man Moves the High Court

Subhas Chandra Pattanayak

A journalist working with Kanak Tv saw a BJD stalwart of Pipili looting a valuable tree from a public place. As a conscious citizen, in due deference to duties enshrined in the Constitution, he advised the person concerned, Prabhakar Behera on the spot, not to cut down the tree. Behera intimidated and dismissed him. This gave birth to media exposure of the loot of the tree by the BJD activist.

On 9th June evening when the said Tv Journalist, Mr. Akhand was returning from his office, Behera tried to murder him at Kanthapur near Kamalasagar patna, under the Pipili Police Station. Narrowly escaping death with severe injuries, Akhand went to the P.S. and filed his complaint.

The Police, on seeing the serious injuries on his body, took instant cognizance of the grievous offense and treated it as FIR and registered P. S. Case No. 112/20120 on the same day, i.e. June 9, 2010 under Sections 307 / 389 / 506 / 294 / 341 and 323 of IPC.

But the matter has been blocked there and the Police, under ruling party pressure, is sloughing over the case.

Media Unity for Freedom of Press (MUFP) reflected the agony of the entire community of scribes of the State in its open appeal to the Home-cum-Chief Minister seeking his intervention in view of visible Police inaction.

No action is yet taken against the miscreant.

Akhand has gone to Orissa High Court seeking action against inaction of Police wherein he has named the Police Officers that have slept over the case. His petition is registered as WP-Crl-448/2010.

Now the questions are: why the Police Station is sleeping over the case even after taking cognizance of grievous offenses like attempt to murder?

Do the BJD members enjoy immunity in practicing loot and arson by stymieing the police in its action as in the matter of murderous assault on the Kanak Tv man by a hoodlum whom the ruling party patronizes?

Are the journalists expected to rush to law courts to seek protection from ruling party goons and dangers designed by the police in nexus with the goons?

If judicial activism is carrying yet any meaning, these questions may suo motu be taken up in interest of society and democracy. And the Police should be subjected to exemplary punishment for sleeping over grievous offenses like attempt to murder even after registering appropriate cases in the P.S.

Police Fails to Wake Up: Is It Due to Nexus with Criminals?

Subhas Chandra Pattanayak

Who doesn’t tolerate the moon on the sky? Obviously, the thieves. Orissa administration is intolerant to journalists. Instances are rampant in these pages.

Sad.

A miscreant, by name Kailas Bastia, belonging to village Sithalo, attempted to murder Dharitri reporter of Ali Pingala, Chandrakant Das, on 29 April 2010 at 10.30 in the fore noon in the Dihasithalo square near Niali in the district of Cuttack declaring openly that he was avenging the report on rubbery that his paper had published. Besides the bloody attack, Basita also looted the gold chain and cash worth totaling more than Rs.25 thousand before the general public rushed to the rescue of the Journalist.

The people helped Das to get medical treatment and reach the police center at nearby Karsada where he filed his complaint in writing at 11 AM. But the police did not show any interest in the matter.

Apprehending that the local police there was in nexus with the criminal, the Jagatsingpur District Association of Journalists preferred a memorandum by fax to the Director General of Police urging upon him to ensure that Das’s looted valuables and cash be recovered from Bastia and penal actions be initiated against him for having attempted to murder journalist Das to avenge the exposure in his paper.

The DGP did not respond.

It prodded the Jagatsinghpur journalists to stage a sitting-in demonstration in front of the Office of the DGP on 5 May, 2010 in protest against the police-criminal nexus in the matter of assault on mediapersons.

Curiously the DGP has preferred to slough over the demonstration as no action against the culprit is yet initiated.

Attack on Journalists Continues In Orissa….

PRASANTA PATNAIK’S CLARION CALL FOR UNITED ACTION BY THE JOURNALISTS

Eminent Journalist Prasanta Patnaik has given a clarion call to journalists of Orissa to start united action against miscreants that play havoc with Freedom of Press.

He writes thus:

While our journalist friend from Mohana, Laxman Chaudhury is languishing in jail because of a conspiracy hatched by some unscrupulous policemen who have branded him as an associate of Naxals, another journalist friend Jagannath Bastia of Puri, representing oddest Oriya daily Samaj, has become a victim of severe assault by anti-socials for exposing the Soddy deals of land grabbers and politicians in Puri. Bastia was also a well known environmentalist who was fighting since last few years to save the environment of Holy City of Puri and its world famous golden beach.

Earlier two scribes Sriharsha Mishra and Kiran Mishra , representing AAROMBH daily published from Bhubaneswar were subjected to atrocious behaviour of Collector, Jharsuguda while collecting information about death of farmers. Sriharsha was injured when the employees of the Collectorate used force to physically throw him out from the Collector’s chamber on receiving instructions from the Collector. Though a FIR was filed with Jharsuguda police against the Collector by aggrieved Mr Mishra, the police preferred to keep quiet. Moreover the matter was also reported in AAROMV elaborately, but failed to evoke no response from the Government, newspaper editors and journalist organisation.

Such dangerous trend of attack on journalists by the police, administrative officers, politicians and anti-socials has certainly posed a serious threat to our profession as well as to the lives and properties of journalists who are trying to expose the anti-people activities of officials, politicians and vested interests.

I personally feel that such attack on media and media persons would increase day by day if we will not give an united fight against such vested interests involved in anti-people activities and working against the interests of the State and the country to achieve their personal goals.

I would therefore request all the media persons, people who believe in free and independent media and prosperity of the State to join hands together to fight against such heinous forces in all spheres.

x x x x x x x x

Expecting your valued suggestions at the earliest and thanking you,
Prasanta Patnaik,
5RF/5, UNIT-3, M.G. MARG,
BHUBANESWAR-751001.
e-mail: patnaikprasanta@gmail.com