Clandestine visit of a group of journalists belonging to Kolkata Press Club to Pakistan has created huge hue and cry when the fact came to light. On February 15, 2014 they started for Mumbai and from there went to Karachi, Pakistan. They visited Karachi and other places in Pakistan on official invitation of Pakistani government. Still, surprisingly enough, on the next day no newspaper had printed a single word of this said news. Why the news has been hushed up? Mystery has been shrouded round this news as the Kolkata Press Club authority has denied their knowledge about this visit when asked by a local weekly newspaper named Janaswartha Barta.
The issue dt. 22.2.2014 of Janaswartha Barta has mentioned that around that period the Pakistan’s ambassador in India Salman Bashir paid a visit to Kolkata and met chief minister Mamata Banerjee. And then Bashir had visited the Kolkata Press Club, met the office bearers of the club and handed over an invitation letter for visiting Karachi Press Club and other places of Pakistan. Apparently there is nothing wrong in it. Pakistan is a democratic neighbouring country and these types of inter-country visits are normal. But it has been alleged that first of all, Pak envoy’s visit to Kolkata Press Club was not pre-scheduled. Naturally, the question came up, who had arranged for this quick permission as this involves lots of diplomatic formalities? Secondly, what prompted the Kolkata Press Club authority not to discuss the matter even in the Executive Committee meeting?
Points to Ponder
1. 1. Why the news of a group of journalist from Kolkata Press Club who visited Pakistan was hushed up?
2. 2. Why the Kolkata Press Club is denying their knowledge about this visit?
3. 3. Who sponsored the visit?
4. 4. Was the visit related to stopping of Narendra Modi from becoming the PM?
Further, why the visit of the Pak envoy to the Kolkata Press Club was kept as a secret? Janaswartha Barta dt. 22.2.2014 has also raised the question that who had invited Salman Bashir to visit Kolkata Press Club? And what was the occasion for forwarding such invitation? No satisfactory reply has been given by the Club. When the president of the Kolkata Press Club was confronted with this question, he simply passed on the buck to the General Secretary saying “he knows everything about it”. But the General Secretary, on his part, said that this was not a programme of the Press Club. Hence he is not bound to answer the question. But subsequently, it has come to the knowledge of the said newspaper that the application for visas of the willing journalists was made on Kolkata Press Club letterhead with signature of the general secretary prominently appearing on it.
Another unanswered area of this visit was about the huge expenditure involved in it and who has borne the expenditure. Free speculation is going on in this matter. If the sponsor is not the Karachi Press Club, then who? Is it Pakistan government or some other agency that has got interest in the affairs of eastern India? Or the interested persons and agencies in the ongoing parliamentary election in India?
Allegations from some quarters have highlighted the question of stopping Shri Narendra Modi to become Prime Minister of India as this would dampen the Muslim or Islamic interest in India and ascendance of Hindu power culminated in Narendra Modi is again a very dangerous proposition for them. This maybe a conjecture as participation of Muslim interest in the recent parliamentary election is very much visible here. In the name of vote-bank politics different political parties are engaged in propping up the Muslim with illegitimate and sometimes with illegal benefits. This has helped swelling up of their heads and loosing the sense of legitimacy in all respect.
Although, no concrete proof has been put forward in support of this allegation, but ample circumstantial evidences are there which are simply annoying. It is earnestly hoped that the security agencies of this country are fully alert of this type of unusual development.
– Asim Kumar Mitra