Updated February 23rd, 2024 at 13:16 IST

Victory For Press Freedom: Santu Pan, R Bangla Reporter Granted Bail as Mamata Loses Face

The Calcutta high court verdict was followed by joyous scenes in the Republic Bangla newsroom in Kolkata.

Reported by: Digital Desk
R Bangla Reporter Santu Pan Granted Bail | Image:Republic Digital
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New Delhi: Santu Pan, the Republic Bangla reporter, who was taken into custody for his fearless reporting on the Sandeshkhali uprising has been granted bail. The Kolkata High Court has upheld the Right to Report while granting bail to Pan. The HC order signifies triumph for press freedom as the Mamata Banerjee-led government's underhand scheme to bury the Sandeshkhali truth fell flat. The HC ruling comes after a marathon hearing where senior counsel Mahesh Jethmalani argued for Republic. 

Big Observations by Kolkata HC: Point-by-Point Rebuttal

The Calcutta High Court said there is no clear explanation of the allegations against Republic Bangla reporter Santu Pan. Coming down heavily on Mamata cops, the court asked, "Why this FIR shouldn't be quashed".

"Feel sorry for police officers. You have not been able to arrest real culprits. You are after an innocent journalist while the people who are not caught are making a mockery of the law. You want to put all your energy after this innocent journalist", Calcutta High Court reprimanded Mamata cops while upholding the Republic's Right To Report. 

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Reaction Pours in

Sukanta Majumdar, West Bengal BJP Chief

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"I welcome the verdict. Mamata trying to impose an unofficial emergency in West Bengal. Strong observation made by the court. And this observation has given a tight slap on the face of Mamata Banerjee."

Locket Chatterjee, BJP MP

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"Republic Bangla reporter Santu Pan fought and raised his voice for Sandeshkhali. Mamata govt tried to attack the 4th pillar of democracy. Mamata's journey will end in Sandeshkhali. Mamata govt’s journey will end in West Bengal. Till now no action has been taken against Shahjahan. They are trying to hide what happened in Sandeshkhali. Mamata Banerjee should be ashamed of her actions."

Swapnil Kothari

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"There was no truth in the case from West Bengal police. Lower-level police officers are the victims and even we feel sorry for those officers. The reporter needs to be compensated for what he has been through. There was no procedure followed he was just picked up while reporting."

RP Singh, BJP MP

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“Mamata govt trying to suppress the truth. Truth cannot be suppressed. High Court has given bail to Republican Bangla journalists. It has exposed Mamata's non-democratic way of functioning. We all support the voice of the truth.”

Joyous Scenes In R Bangla Newsroom | WATCH

The high court verdict was followed by joyous scenes in the Republic Bangla newsroom in Kolkata. 

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.

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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.

After the ED incident, local women in large numbers came out in the open and alleged that  Shajahan and his men forcibly grabbed their land for prawn cultivation, torturing and sexually harassing them for several years.

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Published February 22nd, 2024 at 13:33 IST