MANGALORE Jan 3: The publishers of Karavali Ale have said that the State Government is yet to act on the directions of the Press Council of India asking it to ensure free functioning of the newspaper.
In a press statement here, its editor-in-chief B.V. Seetaram said this had resulted in attacks on the paper and burning of its copies “with gay abandon.” He said everyday two to three such cases were being reported. “The police are not bothered because the ruling Sangh Parivar forces are behind the attacks,” he alleged. “Clearly, the Karnataka Government has no respect for the PCI which is a quasi-judicial authority created by an act of Parliament,” he said.
He said the police were doing little to provide relief to the newspaper publishers. “The complicity of the police in the attacks is evident by the fact that in certain cases the SHOs have refused to register the complaints after making our staff wait for hours and in certain others, even if they did, applied only IPC (Indian Penal Code) sections to make the cases very fragile,” Mr. Seetaram alleged.
He alleged that the attack “by the Hindu rightwing forces and land mafia” on newspaper’s printing press at Baikampady Industrial area on November 17, in which a constable was also injured, was not properly investigated and nobody was arrested. This had emboldened the miscreants to carry on further attacks.
He said Karavali Ale was being penalised for its criticism of the police and Bajarang Dal for their objectionable role during the attacks on churches and for being committed to transparent, secular and pluralistic ideals in its approach to public issues.
When contacted, Inspector-General of Police (Western Range) A.M. Prasad said more than 15 persons had been arrested and produced before the jurisdictional courts. He said all the police stations had been asked to be alert about the suspects. In a couple of cases where there was laxity — like in a case in Mulky — disciplinary action would be taken after the receipt of the inquiry report. Additional Superintendent of Police R. Dilip had been asked to submit a report.
In the case of attack on newspaper’s press on November 17, he said a top-ranking official has been asked to expedite the investigation. The constable who was injured was not able to identify the accused.
Mr. Prasad said armed guard had been provided to the press and escorts are being given to the vehicles supplying the newspaper as and when required. He said more security would be provided, if required. “We have offered any security cover he (Mr. Seetaram) wants,” Mr. Prasad said.