The ‘Media Unity for Freedom of Press’ (MUFP) staged a protest demonstration on Thursday under the Freedom Tree near Jaidev Bhawan in Bhubanewar, Odisha, against the brutal police attack on a television journalist Amitabh Patra while he was on-duty covering the news at the Lower Suktel project site in Magurbeda, about 15 km away from Balangir District Head Quarter, on 29th April 2013. Mr. Patra was cruelly manhandled by a dozen of Police Officers.
Mr. Patra’s condition has slightly improved but as his head sustained several kicks by the booted police personnel, nothing can be said at this moment about his health. He is now undergoing treatment at the VSS Medical College Hospital in Burla after been transferred from Balangir. The journalist has alleged that in Balangir, the doctor, who was attending his case had been asked by someone, not to register all the injuries, rather he should show it as minor injuries.
Patra is still in police custody because he has been arrested on reportedly false charges that he was inciting the protesters. Eyewitnesses say that a group of policemen beat him black and blue with lathis and kept kicking him even when he had fallen on the ground. Even a video exhibits the same footage.
Link of the video – http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=u2lbcJwlsQs&feature=youtu.be
The MUFP has demanded immediate and unconditional release of journalist Amitabh Patra as well as the identification and arrest of the police officials who were involved in the attack that left him with serious head injury. The media body has also demanded payment of compensation for or replacement of Sri Patra’s damaged video camera.
MUFP has threatened to resort to state-wide agitation if Amitabh Patra is not released unconditionally and no action taken against the policemen responsible for the brutal attack on him.
Over 30 scribes and photographers led by senior journalists Prasanta Patnaik and Rabi Das participated in this protest demonstration in the capital city of Odisha.