Report by Badal kumar Tah; Rayagada, April 9: Media persons from across Rayagada district including district, sub-division and block headquarters submitted memoranda to Governor, Chief Minister, Director General of Police resisting the police excess meted out to a working journalist of Nilagiri of Balasore district. Last Monday, Sri Lokanath Dalei, Nilagiri press reporter of Sambad & Kanak TV, was manhandled by Smt Draupadi Das, Inspector-in-Charge(IIC) of Nilagiri police station. After being tortured, he was shifted to the local hospital. He was handcuffed in the leg and tied to the bed with an iron chain.
Sources mention that all this was done at the instance of the IIC as Dalei was exposing the misdeeds of the said IIC in several cases.
Scribes of Rayagada, after a peaceful rally, staged a blockade in front of Collector’s office. Additional District Magistrate Sri Somanath Pradhan received the memorandum given to the Chief Minister, Odisha. It mentioned their anguish over the unconstitutional arrest of Dalei, who was falsely implicated by Ms Draupadi Das, IIC, Nilagiri police station. They said that it was vengeance against news carried by Sri Dalei on several unscrupulous activities led by said IIC. It was really unfortunate that Sri Dalei was tortured by the said IIC so that he had to be hospitalised. In the hospital bed his leg was handcuffed to the hospital bed like a hardcore criminal.
The scribes registered their protest against the inhuman and dastardly act of Nilagiri police and demanded unconditional release of Sri Lokanath Dalei by withdrawing all the cases against him &
arrestin and suspending Ms. Draupadi Das, IIC with immediate effect.
They also demanded to promulgate an Act for the protection of working journalists as this had been a demand since many years.
According to senior correspondent Dr Badal kumar Tah, “Scribes elsewhere must go beyond writing just protest letters to state authorities as obligatory tick marks. They must come out of their individual eco-systems and converge for the cause.
The media editors should push a proactive lobby & advocacy strategy to pressurise the state to budge to the genuine demands. A media campaign should be continued in a sustained basis to keep the demands lively.”
The protests at different places of the district were led by Ranjan Rath, Pramod Sahu, Anil Sahukar, Rajib Lochan Das, Akshey Pidisika, Nilamadhab Padhi, Lokanath Sahu & others.