KIIT hooliganism: OTV team attacked while reporting land grab allegations

While goons in guise of security guards attacked and manhandled media persons; surprisingly, the complainant & land owner has been detained by police for questioning

Bhubaneswar: Setting a bad precedent of hooliganism, that too in an educational institution, security guards of KIIT  (Kalinga Institute of Industrial Technology ) on Saturday attacked a team of OTV on its campus while covering a news on allegations of land grab by the institution authorities.

Surprisingly however, instead of the accused, Police have detained complainant & land owner Chandradhwaja Sahoo who has been alleging that KIIT authorities are illegally constructing a multi-storey building on his land.

An OTV journalist, who was doing his job collecting reports on land grabbing allegations leveled by one Chandradhwaja Sahoo, was attacked in presence of senior officials of Commissionerate Police. Sahoo had alleged that KIIT authorities are constructing a multi-storeyed building on his land by force.

According to information, some miscreants in guise of security personnel snatched the mobile phones, cameras and attacked the media persons in presence of police officials including the zone ACP and inspector of local police station.

“When we went to collect information, the security guards, some PROs of the institute present at the spot threatened us with dire consequences and dragged us by our collars. They also snatched our cameras and mobiles while police officials remained mute spectators. Shockingly, the cops present on the spot also questioned as to why we were covering the allegations,” said the reporter.

Senior journalist Prasanna Mohanty condemned the attack on media and termed it as ‘shocking’ . “Such an incident occurring in Bhubaneswar and that too in presence of police certainly raises questions on the security of working journalists,” he said.

He also spoke about the role of the police. At a time when the police should support the media that brings to fore the concern and grievances of any individual, organisation or the society, their action suggests they are openly supporting a particular side, Mohanty said expressing concern.

Similarly, senior journalist Rabi Das said the ‘goondagiri’ by KIIT authorities has only intensified in recent times since its founder has become MP and they have support of ruling party and government machinery.

‘’It is clear that the police deployed near KIIT campuses are just there only to provide assistance and safety to KIIT authorities or else handful of goons would not had dared to threaten mediapersons in public view,” Das asserted.

“The CAG has already mentioned in its report about land grab by KIIT. The incident of attack on a journalist by hooligans reflects misutilisation of power,” said Naveen Nanda, a senior journalist.

“The State government should order a probe as to how a journalist was attacked in presence of police. The civil society should raise its voice against it,” stated Rajaram Satapathy, another senior journalist.

“If an attack is carried out during news gathering, we should not tolerate it. I demand legal action against the persons who attacked a journalist,” said Satya Ray, senior journalist.

Earlier , OTV last month had telecast a report regarding construction of a 9-storey building on a land close to their campus which actually belongs to one Chandradhwaja Sahoo, a resident of Nuabanta village in Patia.

The complainant Chandradhwaja had then alleged that despite the Orissa High Court and the Supreme Court rulings in his favour in the matter, KIIT authorities are forcibly carrying out construction on the said land.

Today’s incident seems to be a fallout of previous grudge and clearly shows that KIIT authorities have become ‘intolerant’ after finding themselves embroiled in illegally grabbing of forest lands belonging to general public.

Meanwhile, no comments could be obtained from KIIT authorities on the matter.

Later in the day, Infocity Police registered case against KIIT under sections 341, 323 & 34 of IPC and launched probe.