Prafulla Jha, veteran voice of the voiceless, is released from Jail after seven years

Subhas Chandra Pattanayak

journalist prafulla jha
Veteran journalist Pafulla Jha who headed the Chhattisgarh State Bureau of Dainik Bhaskar, was arrested on January 22, 2008 under charges of ‘sedition’, which in police parlance stands for sympathy for the Naxals.

He was sentenced to 7 years that he spent in the jail with his head high, though that imperiled the economy of his family. His son was also jailed as his collaborator in the crime of ‘waging war against the nation’ and his daughter had to give up her Ph.D. midway in dire straits.

Yet, journalistic mana that manifests only in being the voice of the voiceless stayed his forte as he suffered helplessly behind the bars, with fellow journalists too pusillanimous to raise a collective voice against tha police, that had confessed that Jha was no danger as a Maoists, but claimed that he was booked as such to “teach others a lesson”.

His only noted offense was his alleged contributions to Maoist literature, when admittedly; he had done some translations from a special edition of the Economic and Political Weekly on Nepal Maoists.

In the annals of suffering of scribes for betterment of the society, Jha shall remain an epitome of working class consciousness, which, for all time to come, shall continue to inspire every journalist who shall have the affinity to journalistic concern for the working class.

Welcome Mr. Jha to your own world of freedom that a tyrant State can never keep suppressed for all time to come.

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If they killed, why did they?

Subhas Chandra Pattanayak

It is yet to be established beyond doubts that the Maoists in Chhattisgarh have killed the Congress leaders on Saturday; but the Prime Minister has lost no time in condemning the Maoists for the killing. So also the rich media and the elite of the country. The survivors of the attack also allege that the attackers were the Maoists. And, the general public, thus, is in an environment of believing that the attackers were the Maoists.

Words are inadequate to condemn this violence. But we are yet to know why the Government of India run by Dr. Manmohan Singh of the Congress Party and the Provincial Government run by the BJP have not till now told the nation with definite evidence that it is the Maoists and none else that have killed Mahendra Karma and others and so severely injured V.C.Shukla and others in the Bastar ambush.

The Congress leaders were in a massive campaign against the BJP and their campaign was christened ‘Parivartana Yatra’, meaning ‘a march for change’. The BJP was/is to suffer if the Yatra succeeds. So, it is BJP that was/is to be affected by the Congress campaign, not the Maoists. And BJP is also not a non-violent party. It is known for violence for power and/or force against the political adversary.

So, instead of vomiting set jargons of prejudice against the Maoists, the Prime Minister should ensure that a fact finding investigation into who really caused the mayhem and murder is instituted immediately and completed within a stipulated time.

The fact that need not be investigated into is that a set of Congress campaigners for change in Provincial Government were attacked, injured and killed. What needs to be investigated into is that, who did it and why. If the BJP did it, motive is understandable. But, if the Maoists did it, the Government must tell us as to why they did it. Because, unless we reach the root cause, there shall be no remedy.