Supporters of Manoj Nayak attack press

Bhubaneswar: Alleging biased news telecast by some television channels regarding Manoj Nayak, the owner of SUM Hospital, over a hundred supporters of Nayak attacked some reporters of the concerned news channels here on Thursday. Some television journalists have reportedly received injuries in the incident.

The outside broadcast (OB) van of a television channel has also been partly damaged in the incident.

The incident happened when the television reporters were giving live feed regarding the arrest of Nayak to their respective channels in front of the ill-fated hospital, which took 21 lives three days back due to the absence of fire safety measures. All of a sudden, the supporters of Nayak barged into the cordoned-off area and started abusing the journalists. Though they couldn’t reach the reporters due to police obstruction, they used foul languages against the channels telecasting the news regarding the arrest of Nayak and the possible arrest of Nayak’s wife, Saswati Das. The couple is the trustee of a trust which runs Siksha O’ Anusandhan University, of which the hospital is a part.

In no time the irate supporters overpowered the police and started manhandling the television journos. But the police managed to protect the reporters who were later moved to a safer place. The scuffle left some reporters injured.

Soon after the incident, Nayak’s enraged supporters gathered near the Khandagiri square and halted vehicular movement on the National Highway (NH). They too shouted slogans against the television channels for telecasting ‘biased’ news.

“If a man like Nayak serves the society by establishing an educational institute and a hospital, is it wrong? You can take action against the hospital authorities and the management, but why blaming Nayak?” a supporter said adding the government is completely responsible for this.

“The chief minister and health minster must resign on moral grounds,” he noted

Some fellow protesters also threatened to vandalise the news channel offices.

“The channels should stay away from airing such false and biased news items. Else we will go to all the channels and vandalise these,” another protester said.