Published On : Fri, Apr 11th, 2014

Poll officer’s whims spell trouble for Patrakar Bhawan’s chief; Journos condemn action

Nagpur News.

A simple refusal to permit entry of a flying squad official, deputed by the election returning officer, to the Patrakar Bhawan premises spelled trouble for an office-bearer of Tilak Patrakar Bhawan Trust. The concerned official filed the police complaint against President of Tilak Patrakar Bhawan Trust Pradeep Maitra, which did not go down well with the media fraternity here. Sources revealed that Maitra was just trying to confirm the identity of the official who went there along with his videographer to attend a press conference of Congress leader Nitin Raut at press meeting hall in the building. The official behaved abruptly when the concerned employee asked about his identity. They did not show their identity cards nor did they reveal their designation. As per the trust rules, except journalists no outsiders are allowed in Patrakar Bhawan as the premises belong to the concerned trust.

Tilak Patrakar Bhavan is a private property of Nagpur Union of Working Journalists (NUWJ) and is managed by Tilak Patrakar Bhavan (TBP) Trust.

Talking to Nagpur Today, President of Tilak Patrakar Bhawan Trust Pradeep Maitra said belonging to the journalist fraternity, it is our constitutional right to speak or write in the interest of the country. “Since Patrakar Bhawan is the premises exclusively meant for journalists, it is imperative for any non-journalist to seek permission before entering this premise,” he added.

A Naib Tehsildar Vinayak Domaji Khandale, who was heading the flying squad of South-West Assembly Segment and his videographer, wanted to videograph the press conference of EGS Minister Nitin Raut on April 9, 2014. Only media persons were allowed to cover the same as is the normal practice and the Naib Tehsildar was prevented from entering the hall. He chose not to reveal his identity and the purpose of the videography. Without even speaking to the office-bearers, he went to Dhantoli Police Station and registered a complaint against Maitra u/s 353 of the IPC (a non-bailable offence), without even ascertaining and verifying facts. The NUWJ office-bearers have demanded revoking of the complaint.

Condemning the police action, Maitra said, “The way in which the action was taken was not only illegal but unconstitutional. We have written to the collector who has given us due assurance for appropriate action in the matter. Still some cops appeared at the office to perform investigation and eventually registered an offence for preventing government employees from performing his duty.”

Media van out on election coverage stopped at toll booth

In another similar incident, the DIO Press Van approved by the Election Commission was stopped at the Toll Booth of Oriental Company near Mansar. The toll booth officials insisted on payment of toll fees. The journalists opposed to the demand on grounds that the vehicle was meant for election coverage. When the employees at toll booth refused to budge, the journos insisted on parking their vehicle in the middle of the road and block the traffic. Eventually, the vehicle was permitted to move ahead.