COMPLAINT AGAINST HARASSMENT OF INDIA TODAY EDITORIAL STAFF BY SANATHAN SANSTHA OPERATIVES….
STATEMENT CONDEMNING HARASSMENT OF INDIA TODAY STAFFERS BY THE SANATHAN SANSTHA
Hon’ble Governor of Goa,
Mrs Mridula Sinha.
The Mumbai Press Club strongly condemns the acts of harassment and bullying let loose by the Sanathan Sanstha on journalists of the India Today Group and requests your urgent intervention.
The Sanathan Sanstha, has in a recent statement, announced that it has filed a police complaint against two India Today staffers – Mayuresh Ganpatye and cameraman Mahesh More – at the Ponda, Goa police station for purportedly illegally filming the headquarters of the Sansthan at Ramnathi, Ponda. Mr Ganpatye is a senior journalist and a member of the Managing Committee of the Mumbai Press Club.
The complaint filed by Sanstha’s Managing Trustee Virendra Marathe, also takes objection at filming a lady standing in the premises and then broadcasting the video recording on 10 October in a special programme.
This act of filing a police complaint is nothing but an attempt to terrorize genuine journalists and prevent them from performing their duties. In a democratic country, filming and recording persons and institutions is not a crime as long as there is no breach of national security. In fact, it is shocking that the Ponda Police Station stooped to take cognizance of such a complaint. We fear that using the complaint, the police at the instance of the Sanatan Sanstha, may harass and interrogate the two journalists, and even try and detain or arrest them.
It is pertinent to note that the Sanatan Sansthan has published the images of two other India Today Reporters on their website www.sanatan.org and www.hindujagruti.org labelling them as terrorists and threatening them with action. The two journalists had carried out a sting operation where they trapped 2 Sansthan operatives admitting on tape that they had been part of a team that planted bombs in 2008. The video evidence was aired on the channel earlier this month.
The Sanathan website reveals the organization has also filed complaints against Police Inspector C L Patil of the Goa Police for sharing information with the India Today TV channel about the activities of the Sanathan Sanstha. Normal sharing of information is now sought to be muzzled and made to look like a crime. The Mumbai Press Club is strongly opposed to any attempts to browbeat public servants from sharing information in their normal course of work.
The Mumbai Press Club therefore requests your urgent intervention to ensure:
1. The Sanatan Sanstha FIR / complaint against Mayuresh Ganpatye is quashed forthwith and no further proceeding be allowed.
2. An investigation be launched into the goings on at the Ramnathi, Ponda premises of the Sanathan Sansthan, which appears to be coordinating activities to browbeat and terrorize journalists from going about their normal duties.
An acknowledgement of the above and an update on the steps taken on the Sanatan FIR/complaint would be appreciated.
Considering the urgency of the matter, we are sending this communication by normal email. We shall send a formal letter by FAX/ hard copy as soon as possible.
Mumbai Press Club