Vikash Sharma

Bhubaneswar: Randhir Singh, father of OTV MD Jagi Mangat Panda on Tuesday sought help from Union Home Minister Amit Shah against the protracted police excess against his family and employees at the channel’s studio in Sarua, Khordha, in the guise of investigation into a land issue.

Stating that his family and employees have been forced to live under house arrest conditions for the last 10 days, Singh in a video message appealed the Union Home Minister to deploy forces for their protection.

“We are being held hostages for the last 10 days. There are women, children, workers and our food supplies won’t last long. I have never seen police behaving like goondas. They suddenly entered the premises at 3 am and arrested our site in-charge by jumping walls,” said Randhir Singh.

It is worth mentioning here that at around 3 on Tuesday, the site in-charge at Sarua, Anirudhha Panda, was picked up by a posse of policemen though he has been cooperating in the investigation throughout. The team of around 15 to 20 police personnel scaled the boundary walls of the studio and whisked away Panda at the dead of the night without citing any reason.

The police team broke open the door of the room in which Panda was sleeping and treated him like a habitual offender before dragging him out, informed Halim, a fellow staff at the studio.

In the on-going repressive action, four employees of OTV, the leading media house in Odisha, have so far been arrested in 20 cases which is widely believed to be a diabolic conspiracy to muzzle freedom of press at the behest of an oppressive regime in the state.

Meanwhile, Singh said his family along with villagers have been working together to build and create thousands of jobs in the area. “But the government has made this place a hell. Every time we talk to them, police says we have orders from the top,” he said.

“I request Union Home Minister Amit Shah ji to deploy forces and protect us,” Singh added.

Earlier, Odisha Television Limited Managing Director Jagi Mangat Panda had appealed Odisha Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik to put an end to the months-long harassment of the media house and its employees based on certain sudden allegations.

In a press statement, Panda had said, “Order proper investigation into all these sudden allegations against us, but please stop harassing our employees and forcing them to resign.”