Updated February 23rd, 2024 at 16:52 IST

'Ye Jeet Janta Ki Jeet Hai’: Santu Pan as He Walks Free After High Court Upholds Right to Report

Santu Pan was arrested on Monday when he was reporting live from Sandeshkhali.

Reported by: Digital Desk
Republic reporter Santu Pan was granted bail by the Calcutta high court on Thursday | Image:Republic
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Kolkata: Hours after Republic Bangla reporter Santu Pan was released from prison after being granted bail by the Calcutta high court a day earlier, Pan on Friday asserted that Republic will continue its fight for justice as he reiterated that Republic – which, he said, works for the public of West Bengal – would continue to live up to its motto: 'Nation First'. Expressing gratitude, Pan dedicated the recent court win to the entire team of Republic Bangla, and to the public at large. “[Ye jeet janta ki jeet hai, Republic Bangla ki jeet hai]”, he said.

Emphasising that he will continue to fight the good fight, a visibly-unabashed Pan said, “We have shown, not only to the entire state of West Bengal, but the people of the country that there is absolutely no democracy in Sandeshkhali.. The women here are not safe, and there's no system for justice in this place”.

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Using a Hindi adage to underline that 'those who get scared die inside, even before the death arrives', the R Bangla reporter said that he, along with his team, will fight eye-to-eye. ["Jo darr gaye vo marr gaye.. aankh mein aankh milaake ladenge"...].

While stressing that Chief Minister "Mamata Banerjee is muzzling the voice of people", he made a countrywide appeal "to raise voice against the atrocities being committed in the violence-torn region of Sandeshkhali". "Don't be scared, get up and fight the good fight [lado bandhu lado]", he said.

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Pan was arrested on Monday while he was reporting live from Sandeshkhali where women have alleged atrocities by TMC leader Shahjahan Sheikh and his aides. Meanwhile, heavy security has been deployed in Sandeshkhali in West Bengal's North 24 Parganas district. 

The court's decision to uphold the Right to Report while granting bail to Republic Bangla’s reporter Santu Pan signified a triumph for press freedom. The High Court's ruling came after a marathon hearing, during which senior counsel Mahesh Jethmalani vigorously argued for Republic TV. The court's scrutiny found no clear explanation of the allegations against Santu Pan, leading to questions directed at the Mamata-led police force, challenging the legitimacy of the FIR against the journalist.

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In a scathing rebuke, the Calcutta High Court questioned the priorities of the Mamata cops, expressing sympathy for lower-level officers and condemning the pursuit of an innocent journalist while the real perpetrators remained at large.

Sandeshkhali Uprising

Sandeshkhali has been at the centre of a political storm for nearly a month and has witnessed unprecedented protests over allegations of sexual abuse by scores of women against a local TMC leader. It all started on the cold morning of January 5 after a raid by the Enforcement Directorate (ED) at the residence of now-absconding TMC strongman Shajahan Shiekh in Sandeshkhali in the multi-crore ration distribution scam. Shajahan’s men in the locality not only prevented the ED officers from entering his home but also assaulted them before the central probe agency’s men managed to escape from the village around 74 km away from the city.

Considered the last word in Sandeshkhali in the Basirhat sub-division in the district, Shajahan, who is also a member of Zilla Parishad, has been at large since then, but his close associates claimed that he is “very much in control of things” in the area.

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Published February 23rd, 2024 at 12:41 IST