Ranjit had been warned by the General Durjan to not to get in touch with the people from the shrine for next many days, “you be little careful, lest the cops pick you up for questioning.  It is certain the forensic experts will go through each and every face that will be seen on the live coverage of the chief minister’s tour to the shrine. The live coverage had been undertaken by the television cameras of the government channel for broadcast across the nation. The police department will definitely try to mark out and identify each person who had been attending this function at the shrine on that day.  The sleuths may get in touch with all of the persons so marked for verification. It is also true that the investigating agencies will attribute any case of murders and lootings at the public places to the hands of foreign powers with the connivance of local militants. It leaves a lot to be desired about the efficient handling of all such cases by the sleuths of the state police. However it is always better to be careful”, general Durjan had been advising him. . “We will ensure the promised reward reaches you. We do not short change any one. At the same time it may not be your last job. You should be prepared to hear from us at any time of the day or night. How and where, we know how to”, General Durjan had told him.

“Does that mean I am under watch all the while? I hope they do not put her also under their observation list. I may have to eventually speak to the great priest Rajamantran to leave her alone”.

The great priest Rajamantran had addressed the press meet in the shrine two days after the killing of the police officer. “We are the worshippers of peace.  Even when the state machinery had manhandled us, we remained unprovocated. It is for every one to see that the murder of a senior police officer within the god’s premises is the handiwork of the politicians. It could be agents of the state government on the prowl. They can commit such heinous act within the place of worship. They will do anything to malign our sect and people. It is only the government machinery that had hatched this conspiracy. We will urge for an unbiased investigation by the central agencies so that the truth comes out. That only will make sure, that our stand gets vindicated”.

The messenger from the big man in the central government had assured Rajamantran of a favorable report from the central investigation agency should the state government decide to go for it. “Your task is to report the truth to the public”, General Durjan had interpreted, “and then let them see for themselves who is the villain behind the entire controversy”, and he told the press reporters.

“We have heard that you maintain a list of people who are opposed to your rise to the fame. You want to eliminate them one by one. We understand that each time a slip is taken out from the list of probable people on the hit list.  The next day the man gets killed. Is that true”?

The great priest Rajamantran kept a straight face. He answered him point blank “we do not have any one opposing our rise, nor have we risen to a level. These are all mere hearsays.  We are the humble servants of our people. It is our mighty religion to serve them. We can sacrifice our life for the cause. We will always claim another life of piety from god to serve. Your accusation is absolutely ridiculous. In case you come across any such list please do give a copy to us also to see if our name too figures on that list.  Who knows our enemies may have included our name on top of the list”.

General Durjan who was sitting at one corner of the conference venue made a mental note of getting this reporter investigated. “What he had mentioned was too close to the actual facts.  If he has obtained the inside information from someone of the shrine it was time to find the source of the leakage and block it” General Durjan told himself silently.

The reporter belongs to the rival language newspaper, which was always reporting the activities of the great priest Rajamantran and his men. The last time the big man from the central government had visited the shrine this scribe did question the relationship between him and the seer. The newspaper article written by him had gone to the extent of reporting a conspiracy being hatched at the shrine to throw away the legitimately elected state legislature. The press reporter had ascribed the increase in violent activities in the state to the conferences going on in the shrine. General Durjan brought it to the notice of the great priest Rajamantran and the big man. They had advised him “you should know any retaliation to the writings of this reporter will establish the truth of whatever he has been writing so far. The best way will be to just ignore it in Toto”.

“This time it seems the member of the third estate has gone a little too far. We will have to deal with him”, General Durjan was addressing the inner circle meeting in which the great priest Rajamantran and the press advisor to the great priest Rajamantran were the only ones taking part.

“We have so far not gone into the direct fight with the press.  In fact the members of the press have always been supportive of our cause of reviving the customs and traditions of our culture. In case we decide to do away with a member of their tribe it will become difficult to win them back to the cause of our nation. I think a meeting should be arranged between the reporter and the great seer to clear away their way of thinking. We must put forward our point of view to him to make sure he understands us better”. The press secretary wanted to avoid a confrontation with the media at any cause. He knew things have not gone too far yet.  The law agencies were always too afraid of their negative reporting. They had always taken press along. In fact no revolutionary movement can sustain itself for a longer period if the media gets against them.  He did not want to lose support of the third estate just because one small timer has been reporting against them. “I can bring him round to our way of thinking after you have had a meeting with him. I will make sure, a favorable report can be planted in his paper eulogizing our seer “he told General Durjan.

“I am surprised at your knowledge of events. Are you forgetting the same newspaper had opposed selection of the language? He was the one who urged the citizens of our state to report an alien language as their mother tongue. He did not want our mother’s tongue to be placed on the national chapter lest it gave way to creation of new states on the language formula”.

“Yes that issue has since been settled in our favor why rake up this again. Believe me any kind of dispute with the press will cost us later. Allow me to handle it”, is all he could say.   “Many a times a proactive action is better than the reaction later. I think General you will have to find out how this man gets privy to our list and other information etc.  You will deal with him. You will have to make sure it all happens quite far away from our linkage. Let the boys carry him to the other state if it is required. Then they can do away with him”.

The press secretary could not hide his discomfiture from great Priest Rajamantran, “I think we should consult the big man who happens to be close to the members of the press for any kind of action.  Ultimately every finger is likely to be pointed at him. I do not think he will relish any kind of conflict with the members of the third estate.  We should think of knocking off any one of the journalists of the state only if the big man agrees”.

“I will give my consent to whatever you have said just now.  However I still believe a warning need to be issued to this reporter to mend his way of writing his press reports. Otherwise we feel he can get really close to our plans. He can become a bigger pain in the times to come”, the great priest Rajamantran averred.

“We will arrange the set about on him in such a fashion that he gets our message very loud and clear”. General Durjan had to give his reassurance in order to keep the press secretary free from his worries.  “The press secretary after all had been correct.  It was not the best of times to keep the members of the third estate on the wrong side”.

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