By– Partha Pratim Borah
The last few days in Assam has seen almost all section of Assamese media making big news about the pro-talk section of ULFA group’s indulgence in business and have made fun of the former rebels. Further still, all Assamese media has thundered completely against the pro-talk ULFA members Mrinal Hazarika and Jiten Dutta when it was declared that the rebel group, now in talks with the government, would continue to indulge in many more areas of business. Mrinal Hazarika’s stand was clear, he declared that that all businesses where a few non Assamese were running monopoly and stashing away millions of money to outside of Assam would be now taken up by the ULFA over ground members and would transfer the business to the unemployed and needy people of Assam. This declaration seemed only to add fuel to the fire and the Assamese media used very left and right corner of their Newspapers and Satellite channels alleging that this is going to be a new dawn of Mafiaraj in Assam and made mockery of the ULFA rebels.
There is no denying the fact that any business can never be successful by forcing it to be transferred to another group by means of guns and goons. If the ULFA leadership indeed turns out to doing only a wrong thing and destroying further prospects for the people of Assam, there is no reason why they should not be punished or questioned.
But analyzing the current fire created by Assamese Media, we find that the reason why all Assamese Newspapers and TV channels are so much against ULFA indulging in business is not because they are concerned about the people. This is only because the ULFA leadership decision to indulge in business threatens to create extremely tough competition for the owners and big names of Assamese Media, most of them non Assamese, who were running monopoly and dictatorship in several businesses.
To start with, the maximum noise against ULFA doing business has come from the news papers Assamiya Khabor and Asomiya Pratidin. The owner of Assamiya Khabor is one other Shailendra Dutta Konwar, a coal mafia himself and currently in police custody for attacking a former business partner with AK 47 bullets. Konwar, a SULFA, was the same guy who was accused of being involved in the conspiracy that killed the immensely popular Deputy C-in-C of ULFA, Heerak Jyoti Mahanta. Konwar had surrendered almost immediately after Heerak Jyoti Mahanta’s death and with then Chief Minister Hiteshwar Saikia’s help; he has been rising in different business including running syndicate of coal business as a mafia. Since the Mrinal Hazarika and Jiten Dutta faction of pro-talk ULFA leaders have started working in coal business of Guwahati themselves and threatens to control the mafia raj currently in place, Shailendra Dutta Konwar faces great pressure in his future income and so is using all his power of media to create public opinion against ULFA’s business though his newspaper Assamiya Khabor.
The most circulated Assamese daily Asamiya Pratidin on the other hand is run by one of the biggest thug and cunning mafia contractor Assam has ever seen, Jayanta Baruah. From blackmailing for money (by threatening to spoil reputation through his newspaper), he has got a bad name everywhere. The only reason why Asomiya Pratidin still runs as a highest circulated paper is because Jayanta Baruah used the name and emotion of late Journalist Parag Kumar Das and later Ajit Bhuyan, one of the few good journalist that Assam has given birth. Baruah had declared to keep Parag Kumar Das’ pen, chair, etc which he worked with in Asomiya Pratidin after the death of Parag Kumar Das. However Jayanta Baruah hardly remembers the promise now. Pratidin continued to maintain the top position which Parag Kumar Das had brought it to with truth and dignity by using emotion of Assamese nationalism and their pro-ULFA stands. But now that Jayanta Baruah’s game of blackmailing and his contract mafia faces a threatening in the form of the ULFA rebels declaring to control all business, he is left with no choice to stand up and create as much bad name as possible against the whole idea and he anyway has mastered this art over the years.
Incidentally Asomiya Pratidin here is trying to showcase here that it is speaking for the unemployed and entrepreneurs of Assam, though the newspaper itself is running its web portal and internet edition from an agency outside of Assam, ignoring thousands of capable Assamese small firms who desperately needs support in business. Of course this is because of the manager of Pratidin, a non Assamese who calls such decisions. We do not need another example of these newspapers dual standards.
Amongst the other eminent newspapers, Dainik Batori and Amar Asom are found voicing the same stand as Jayanta Baruah’s Asomiya Pratidin or Shailen Dutta Konwar’s Assamiya Khabor. The reason is the same. Ajir Dainik Batori’s owner is Anjan Dutta while amar Asom is owned by Ghisalal Agarwala, former business partner of infamous and crooked murderer and contractor Bhagya Kalita, who was incidentally the owner of Dainik Batori till Anjan Dutta took over it. They all face the same issue of business loss and loosing their power of Mafiaraj if ULFA leaders decide to control the coal syndicates and contracts which they were running monopoly.
With the satellite TV channels, all channels barring News live are owned and controlled by non-Assamese businessmen or politicians and with Newslive too, is no exception with all their co-owners being partners in crime in running Mafiaraj. Whether it’s a Matang Singh or Jaiswal, the non Assamese businessmen would never like their existing business to be taken over by the ethnic and the indigenous people of Assam, simply because it would end their tyranny and monopoly in business. With media and newspapers, they continue to ripp off huge benefits though the reporters and journalists are paid extremely less compared to profits they earn and will definitely take every chance to create a public opinion against ULFA’s indulgence to business.
The current scenario being exhibited by Assamese Newspapers is just as example of how treacherous and characterless our media of the state is. At one side, they speak about the need of ULFA coming back from the jungles and live a normal life, but when the day comes they makes fun of the same people for leaving their guns against the system! They talk about regionalism, need of developing entrepreneurship and promote Assamese emotions , but when the day comes they speak against the ones who try such things so that the owners of Assamese media are not troubled. Barring a few good names like Ajit Bhuyan and late Anil Mazumdar, almost everyone associated with Assamese media maintains dual standards, either for lust of money or due to hands being tied with situation controlled by the media mafia.
The Assamese media is trying to showcase as if they wants the Mafiaraj (all run by their masters) to end. But who will control the vandalism of the Assamese media itself? They now looks to us as the real mafia gang, – Media Mafia of Assam, a new monster in Assam. Its high time to tame them first, before any other progress is made from here on, else they will act as a spoilsport everywhere, for their own selfish motives of course.
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