The C Times, 27 June 2017, Agartala: Terming it as a black mark on the face of democracy media organisations and different political parties have criticised the step of the state administration to suspend the publication of a popular vernacular daily, Pratibadi Kalam, since Sunday. The newspaper is known as the leading Bengali daily in the state and has a reputation for exposing incidents of corruption and maladministration.
West District Magistrate, Milind Ramteke, passed an order banning publication of the newspaper on Sunday night for allegedly violating Section 4(2), Section 5(3) and Section 8 of the Press and Registration of Books (PRB) Act, 1867. The newspaper was asked to stop publication both in print and on the digital platform as per Rule 10(4) of the RNI (Central) Rules 1956, which states that certificate of RNI (Registrar of Newspapers in India) will cease to be effective as soon as the declaration of which the newspaper is published becomes void.
The editor and proprietor of the newspaper, Anal Roy Choudhury, was warned that he would be liable for penal action under Section 188 of IPC and the publication to be forcibly shut down if the order is violated. The notice advised the owner to appeal before the Press and Registration Appellate Board as per Section 8C of PRB Act, 1867.
Recently Pratabadi Kalam unfolded the mysterious death of a blind boy in Narsingarh blind school. Apart from that the newspaper also played a pivotal role in reviving the recent Anwara murder case. Gradually the newspaper became an eyesore for the Left govt. as it started to expose all its misdeeds and corruptions.
Opposition leaders have accused the administration of using its power to clamp down on a newspaper which is popular among the common man.
“Before taking such drastic decision of suspending the publication of an established newspaper, the district magistrate was expected to think of the consequences. Even if there was some deficiency, he must have to give an adequate opportunity to rectify it. This shows the attitude of the government,” alleged senior Congress leader and MLA Ratan Lal Nath.
Reviving memories, MLA Gopal Roy alleged that the then Finance Minister – Manik Sarkar, who is now Chief Minister had brought a Protection of Interest of Depositors Act in 2000 in the Assembly and it was passed in 2007. Even though he had brought a law for the chit-fund companies, incumbent Chief Minister Manik Sarkar had inaugurated a park run by Rose Valley Group of Companies in 2008, he continued. “Business of the chit fund companies have mushroomed during Left regime. And we can boldly claim that the Left government had given scope to the 142 chit-fund companies to flee from the state after they have robbed thousand crores of rupees from 14 lakh depositors. And Chief Minister inaugurated the Rose Valley Park and also was seen attending functions, meetings with the head of some of the chit-fund companies,” said Roy showing some photographs as evidence to the media on Sunday evening.
Trinamool Congress president said, “What could be more proof that a government is undemocratic and disrespectful to the pillars of democracy. The newspaper became a pioneer in exposing the misdeeds and corruption of Manik Sarkar and his party. The government shamelessly used administration against media.”
BJP vice-president Subal Bhowmik warned the government to withdraw the order and seek an apology.