TELL, WHO KEPT THEM STARVED?

Subhas Chandra Pattanayak

The ghastly act is likely to be legally unveiled.

Orissa’s newly established Human Rights Commission (OHRC) has intervened in the matter of reported denial of food to 27 inmates of the ‘mentally retarded institute’ of Kendrapada for at least 36 hours. Kendrapada is the constituency of the present food minister of Orissa, Ved Prakash Agarwalla of the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP). It was earlier the seat of Bhagwat Prasad Mohanty of Congress who was a minister under three chief ministers. Most of the most wanted men of the district are known either with Agarwalla or with Mohanty ! And most of the wanted persons are also known in the name of non-government organizations they run. Huge sum of money comes to their pockets from various sources in the name and guise of managing humanitarian institutes. The state Assembly has many a times been stirred over allegations that NGOs do not collect funds to use in institutions but they use institutions only to collect funds.

The Kendrapada event is a sample of how inhuman activities go on in the name of humanitarianism! As many as 27 mentally deficient persons who cannot even understand what happens to them were kept under stark starvation for long 36 hours by persons who claim to be missionaries of humanitarianism! The Collector has been asked by the ORHC to tell who kept them starved. An answer is yet to come. But come it must one day.

The inhuman attitude displayed by Police as well as a government doctor in the Capital City in respect to Smt. Renu Jena stabbed by her husband in an attempt to murder has formed crux of another case taken up by the OHRC. Son of a political heavyweight of southern part of Orissa, the husband was keen in getting rid of the wife. He brought her to Bhubaneswar in the pretext of visiting historical sites and executed his sinister design to kill her in the nearest neighborhood of Lingaraja Police station. The general public of the locality brought the matter to the notice of the PS and urged upon the officer-in-charge to rush the profusely bleeding woman to the hospital so that the doctors shall not waste time in waiting for police requisition. The OIC did not heed, because the location where the stabbing was perpetrated being nearer to Railways track was obviously under the jurisdiction of Government Railways Police. Unable to obtain any help from the police, the people called a member of the State Women Commission, Smt. Namrata Chadda, who tried her best to activate the OICs of both the PSs in view of the urgency of medico-legal protection to the victim, but in vein. Smt. Caddha then took the victim personally to the Capital Hospital and begged the emergency doctor to attend Smt. Jena who was getting worse due to unchecked bleeding. The doctor refused to heed to her appeals saying that he cannot do anything in absence of police requisition! When the matter agitated the public, the Superintendent of Police, Khurda, defended his field staff and the State administration kept quite.

Now the OHRC has summoned the Chief secretary for his administrative comments on the issue. An answer is yet to come. But come it must one day.

From death of an undertrial prisoner Shib Kadarka due to untackled tuberculosis in Rayagada sub-jail to starvation deaths under Dharamgarh Block, notwithstanding official refutation, blatant transgression of human rights are taken to records by the OHRC within a short time of its coming to existence. The Chief secretary of the State government has been asked to place official version in all the cases. Answers are yet to come. But come they must one day.

The ghastly offences are bound to be legally unveiled.

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