Journalist Arrest in Sandeshkhali Sparks Concern Among Press Associations


GG News Bureau
New Delhi/Kolkata, 22nd Feb.
 In a troubling development, journalist bodies across the nation have raised concerns over the arrest of Santu Pan, an on-duty television journalist, by the West Bengal Police in the tumultuous region of Sandeshkhali.

The Press Association, the Editors Guild of India, and the National Union of Journalists (India) expressed dismay over Pan’s arrest while he was reporting live on television. Pan, associated with Republic Bangla, was apprehended from Sandeshkhali late on Monday evening, drawing widespread criticism from media organizations.

Members of the National Union of Journalists (India) (NUJI) and Delhi Journalists Association (DJA) condemned the arrest, denouncing it as an infringement on press freedom. Both organizations demanded Pan’s immediate release and announced plans for an agitation against the unjust detention.

While acknowledging the authorities’ right to investigate allegations against journalists, the Press Association and the Guild emphasized the need for a fair inquiry and urged the West Bengal administration to ensure that Pan’s rights are protected.

In a demonstration of solidarity, NUJI and DJA members planned a march from Jantar Mantar to Banga Bhawan to raise awareness about the plight of journalists in West Bengal. They highlighted concerns about media suppression and the imposition of an undeclared emergency in the state.

The Kolkata Press Club also joined the chorus of condemnation, demanding Pan’s immediate release and expressing solidarity with the journalist community. However, the police justified Pan’s arrest citing a complaint filed by a local woman alleging intrusion into her residence.

Sandeshkhali has been gripped by tension following allegations of land-grabbing and sexual assault against Trinamool Congress leader Shajahan Sheikh and his associates. Sheikh, who has been on the run since an attack on ED officers during a raid at his residence, faces serious charges along with his aides.

As the controversy unfolds, the arrest of Santu Pan underscores broader concerns about press freedom and journalistic integrity in West Bengal, prompting calls for a swift and transparent investigation into the matter.

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