Randhir Singh, father of OTV MD Jagi Mangat Panda, has issued a video appeal to the Union Home Minister of India, Amit Shah, seeking protection from the excesses of the police officials against his family and employees at the channel’s studio in Sarua, Khordha, under the pretext of carrying an investigation into a land issue.
“The family members and employees are living under house-arrest like conditions for the last 10 days due to unprecedented police aggression. I have never seen police officials behaving like goondas. They had entered premises at 3 am and arrested our site head. We and the villagers are working to provide hundreds of jobs but the government has made this place hell. Police say they have orders from the top. I urge Amit Shah ji to deploy forces and protect us,” Singh said.
We are being held here as hostages for last 10 days. There are women, children, workers & our food supplies won’t last long. I have never seen police behave like goondas: #OTV MD Jagi Mangat Panda’s father Randhir Singh appeals Union Home Minister @AmitShah for protection pic.twitter.com/bUygFisriO— OTV (@otvnews) November 10, 2020
In the video, Singh had lamented that the police officials have forced his family members and the employees to live in house-arrest like conditions for the last 10 days and urged the Union Home Minister Amit Shah to take cognisance of the matter and deploy central troops for their protection.
Singh also added that his family, along with villagers have been working tirelessly to build and create thousands of jobs in the area but the police have been relentlessly targeting them. “The government has made this place a hell. Every time we approach them, cops say they have orders from the top,” he said.
OTV Sarua site in-charge arrested by the police in the dead of the night
It is pertinent to note here that at the site in-charge at Sarua, Anirudhha Panda, was arrested by a group of policemen at 3 AM on Tuesday. The posse of about 15-20 police officials climbed the boundary walls of the studio and hustled away Panda in the dead of the night without offering any reason.
According to OTV, the team of policemen broke into the room in which Panda was sleeping and treated him like a hardened criminal before hauling him away. He was arrested by the police as he did not respond to the summons sent regarding the written complaint filed against him. Before Panda, 3 other employees working with the OTV were arrested in 20 cases, leaving little doubt amongst many of the state-sponsored harassment against the company employees.
A host of allegations have been levelled against OTV and its affiliate organisations. Odisha Infratech Private Ltd (OIPL), a sister concern of OTV Network is accused of usurping land belonging to some members of SC community in Sarua village in Khurda district.
OTV MD Jagi Mangat Panda alleges political vendetta
Earlier, OTV MD Jagi Mangat Panda, the wife of BJP politician Baijayant Panda, issued an appeal to Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik to bring an end to the months-long harassment of the media house and its workers on some sudden allegations.
In a press statement released by Panda, she had asked the Odisha government to investigate all the allegations levelled against them but asked him to stop harassing the employees, forcing many to tender their resignations. She has alleged that her organisation’s fearless coverage of allegations of government corruption has invited the wrath of the Patnaik government against the OTV Network.
“All of Odisha is aware that this is only because OTV fearlessly covers allegations of government corruption. But we cover ALL news, which sometimes is in favour of the government and sometimes is against it, and our viewers can vouch for this neutrality,” she added.