Memorandum to PM for NIS/IISER




EXPOSURE IN orissamatters.com JERKS NIC INTO ACTION

EXPOSURE IN orissamatters.com JERKS NIC INTO ACTION

(Cuttack Bureau)

Orissa High Court is no more invisible in the net.

This portal had shown how the justice seekers of Orissa were suffering due to lack of transparency in listing of cases and progress thereof.

For elimination of manipulation in listing, which is a strong factor of delay in timely disposal of cases, it was decided to computerize the courts which had started 15 years ago in 1990. The National Informatics Centre (NIC) was given this responsibility. Within these 15 years, it has implemented many applications in computerization of the Supreme Court and several High Courts, which have either direct or indirect beneficial impact on litigants. But it had not carried out the project in respect of Orissa High Court. It was discussed at the following link.

http://orissamatters.com/news/index.php/2005/08/24/where-is-orissa-high-court/

It is a matter of satisfaction for this portal that the NIC has taken our observation seriously and has built up the website of Orissa high Court in the mean time. Now the litigant public as well as the lawyers of Orissa is to enjoy access to judicial lists and verdicts through the Internet.

ORISSA HIGH COURT INTERVENES IN NIS / IISER MATTER

(Cuttack Bureau)

The clandestine design of the Central Government against academic interest of Orissa having been exposed in orissamatters.com vide (http://orissamatters.com/news/index.php/2005/10/07/under-whose-spell-the-prime-minister-has-done-it/ , http://orissamatters.com/news/index.php/2005/10/13/why-an-nisiiseriit-should-be-established/ and http://orissamatters.com/news/index.php/2005/10/13/orissa-cm-must-rise-to-the-occasion-and-join-the-campaign/ ),an alert periodical of Bhubaneswar Pratisruti Plus carried the first story in its latest edition giving link to this website. The exposure developed into consequential stir. Eminent senior citizens, who have served the State in top positions with acknowledged expertise in their respective fields, have collectively preferred a memorandum to the Prime Minister urging upon him to honour the earlier decision, placed before Parliamentary Committee by the then Central HRD Minister Mr. M.M.Joshi for establishment of a National Institute of Science (NIS) at Bhubaneswar. Headed by Prof. Sabitarani Kanungo, former President of State Selection Board, the signatories include former Works Secretary P.K.Quanango, former Vice-Chancellors M/s Bimalendu Mohanty, Gokulananda Das, Niranjan Panda, Former Engineer-in-Chief M.M.Kamila, former Director of Treasuries Hemant Kumar Das, former Director of Higher Education Gunanidhi Sahoo, former Director of Forensic Science laboratory B.K.Das etc. Even as the netizens of Orissa spread all over the world have e-mailed protest letters against eclipse of Orissas entitlement to have the NIS, protest rallies and debate-events are on the anvil in profusion against the Prime Ministers order for establishment of the NIS in a new nomenclature like Indian Institute of Science for Education and Research (IISER) at Kolkata in obliteration of the NIS for Bhubaneswar.

Against this backdrop, a Public Interest Litigation (PIL) has been filed in the Orissa High Court by Prasant Kumar Das on behalf of Orissa Public Interest Protection Council. Admitting the case, a Division Bench comprising Justice L.Mohapatra and Justice R.N.Biswal has issued notices to both the Central and State Governments warranting their say on the status of the NIS decided for establishment at Bhubaneswar in 2003 by 31st day of this month on which day further hearing in the matter shall proceed.

ORISSA MAKES THE RIGHT TO INFORMATION ACT A FARCE

Subhas Chandra Pattanayak

Freedom from bureaucratic machiavellianism was the sole purpose behind enactment of the Right to Information Act, 2005. But Orissa Government has made it a farce by recommending only two persons to form the first Information Commission of the State in which the corrupt bureaucracy shall see its rampart well protected.

A committee constituted under Sub-Section 3 of Section 15 of the Act, comprising Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik, Leader of Opposition J.B.Pattanaik and Damodar Raut, a member of the Cabinet nominated by the Chief Minister, has recommended the names of D.N.Padhi and Radhamohan for the post of Chief Information Commissioner (CIC) and Information Commissioner (IC) respectively. Padhi is currently working as the Union Power Secretary when Radhamohan has retired from Orissa Education Service. When the former has spent almost entire span of his career in Orissa administration, the later, whose recruitment was meant for teaching economics in Colleges, has spent almost all the years of his career not in any College, but in the State Secretariat as a scientist!

If these two fellows did not commit any corruption during their tenure in Orissa then it must be assumed that there is no corruption in Orissa.

But everybody knows Orissa administration is full of corruption. And, the bureaucrats know where and when who of them committed or commits what sort of corruption.

Corruption is a vicious game played by bureaucrats under the canopy of their mutual cooperation. So there must be many people in Orissa bureaucracy, starting from clerks to Secretaries, who must be knowing what were the corruptions committed by Padhi and Radhamohan during their long tenure in Orissa. How these fellows constituting the only two-member-Commission can come up against the same persons who must know their questionable conducts, if any, in course of their career, is a question to which no answer is known to anybody.

A suspicion is still nagging in the minds of many that Padhi, had he not been a senior IAS officer, could not have been free from the blemish that had soiled his cloths in the matter of official purchases following the 1999 killer cyclone. If somebody now invokes the Act to dig out what really had happened and if the concerned Office refuses him access, what would be inferred? Similarly, when some one will want to know if using his Secretariat position, Radhamohan had provided benefits to the NGO called Sambhav with which he is associated, what would be its impact?

Therefore, a lot of precaution should have been taken in selecting the CIC or IC. I do not know if the selection flew from free choice or from a guided choice. But there is reason to apprehend that information blockers against whom the Act has stringent provisions may bargain for leniency through blackmail, if these two persons are appointed.

This apprehension would never have arisen had the legislative intention behind the Act been properly understood before the selection. Meant to grant access to the citizens to information under the control of public authorities, in order to promote transparency and accountability in the working of every public authority the Act was from the beginning considered to be an instrument against bureaucracy. Hence bureaucracy as a whole had heightened its lobby against the Act and politicians who benefit from collaboration with bureaucracy were opposing it. Many concerns and questions were raised during discussion on the Bill in the Parliament.

Putting forth the legislative intention, the Prime Minister had to call upon the civil servants to see the Bill in a positive spirit; not as a draconian law for paralysing Government, but as an instrument for improving Government-citizen interface resulting in a friendly, caring and effective Government functioning for the good of our people.

So saying, the P.M. had further said, “I appeal all civil servants to see this Bill in the right spirit and hope they will only be spurred towards better performance”. The Prime Minister’s emphasis on the very words “civil Servants” eventually proceeded to specification when he stressed that “the passage of this Bill will see the dawn of a new era in our processes of governance, an era of performance and efficiency, an era which will ensure that benefits of growth flow to all sections of our people, an era which will eliminate the scourge of corruption, an era which will bring the common man’s concern to the heart of all processes of governance, an era which will truly fulfil the hopes of the founding fathers of our Republic”. (Lok Sabha debates, 11 May 2005)

Hence it is clear that the right to information given by the Act to the citizens of India is meant for curbing corruption in bureaucracy.

It is therefore shocking that in Orissa an incumbent bureaucrat, whose integrity in public perception is still shrouded by nagging suspicions and a retired economic teacher who deceived the State for many years donning the attire of a ‘scientist’, have been chosen as the Chief Commissioner and Commissioner of the State’s first Information Commission. What a mockery!

The three-member committee of power-politicians, by selection of these two fellows, have individually as well as collectively played a fraud upon the people of Orissa.

Governor Rameswar Thakur would do a wrong if he accepts this selection. Before proceeding to accept the recommendation of the committee it would be better for him to peruse Sub-Section 5 of Section 15 of the Act. It says: THE STATE CHIEF INFORMATION COMMISSIONER AND THE STATE INFORMATION COMMISSIONERS SHALL BE PERSONS OF EMINENCE IN PUBLIC LIFE WITH WIDE KNOWLEDGE AND EXPERIENCE IN LAW, SCIENCE AND TECHNOLOGY, SOCIAL SERVICE, MANAGEMENT, JOURNALISM, MASS MEDIA OR ADMINISTRATION AND GOVERNANCE.

So the Committee should have selected PERSONS OF EMINENCE IN PUBLIC LIFE, which necessarily means PERSONS OF UNQUESTIONABLE INTEGRITY WHO HAVE EARNED RESPECTABLE PLACE IN THE LIFE OF THE PUBLIC and in whom the public have grown and shown confidence. Such people of eminence in public life, the Act stipulates, should have wide knowledge and experience in Law, Science & Technology, Social service, management, Journalism, Mass media, or Administration and governance.

But the Committee of three politicians that made the selection did not want to make a choice from all these segments even though Orissa has many eminent persons of impeachable place in public life having wide knowledge and experience in all these segments.

Misled by officialdom it has erred in accepting official employment as ‘Administration and governance’ and equated government service with public life.

The Act has never equated official employment with administration and governance. Had by ‘administration and governance’ official employment was to be meant, then instead of these three words, the Act would have noted a single word ‘bureaucracy’. So the words ‘administration and governance’ must be construed as Company, Banking, Industrial, University or NGO management, or can be taken as erstwhile Ministers who are no more with any political party or outfit. But by no stretch of imagination, these words can be accepted as employment in any government office.

Under these interpretations, Padhi and Radhamohan are not eligible to hold the offices of CIC and IC respectively and hence selection and recommendation of their names for the said posts by the Committee of three politicians is devoid of legality.

It would be proper therefore for the Governor of Orissa to turn down the recommendation and to refuse to appoint them.

The farce that is being enacted in Orissa in the name of Right to Information Act must not be allowed to proceed.

ORISSA CM MUST RISE TO THE OCCASION AND JOIN THE CAMPAIGN

Subhas Chandra Pattanayak

Orissa Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik is seen very keen in protecting the interest of POSCO; but come the question of protecting the interest of Orissa, one feels, he should know how not to be nonchalant.

Orissa has been severely hit by an order of Prime Minister Manmohan Singh who has reversed the central government decision to establish a National Institute of Sciences (NIS) at Bhubaneswar. The reversal smacks of Bengali conspiracy against Orissa. But Patnaik has failed to rise to the occasion. He must reverse his own attitude and address himself to the cause of Orissa in a way expected of a Chief Minister.

We have earlier discussed the issue in these pages. The Chief Minister must try to understand the issue and take up the matter with the Prime Minister Mr. Singh in right earnest and if Mr. Singh does not buzz, must join the mass campaign that patriots of Orissa have already started.

For him to understand the issue we may begin from December 09, 2003. On this day, the then HRD Minister of India, Dr. M. M. Joshi had told the Parliamentary Consultative Committee attached to his ministry that a decision had been taken to establish four NISs including one at Bhubaneswar �for improving the relevance and quality of teaching and research� in science, which was put on records by the U.G.C. vide http://www.ugc.ac.in/pub/jan_2004/12.htm. It makes it abundantly clear that the decision to establish a NIS at Bhubaneswar had been taken by the Union Government and the Parliament of India was made a witness to this decision through its Committee comprising members of both the Houses.

When the decision was awaiting execution, a media report informed that there is possibility of shifting of the proposed site of NIS from Bhubaneswar to Kolkata.

Chief Minister Patnaik was asked for comments. He told the Press that his Government has already located necessary land for the Institute and informed the Center accordingly and hence there is no question of its shifting. He, however, assured that he will take up the matter with the Center and do every needful for execution of its earlier decision.

What has he done in the matter is not known either to the department of higher education or to the department of science & technology. But on September 28, 2005, the Press Information Bureau vide http://pib.nic.in/release/release.asp?relid=12305 informed that Prime Minister Manmohan Singh has cleared on the same day an Indian Institute of Science for Education and Research (IISER) for Kolkata and has �authorized� the Ministry of HRD to fund the Institute �so that it can become operational in 2006�.

Difference in nomenclature notwithstanding, this suggesting a sure shift of the NIS from Bhubaneswar to Kolkata, the NROs, specifically members of the �ODIA SAMAJA� group of netizens under stewardship of Prof.. Chitta Baral and Prof. Debasmita Mishra started submitting their protests online.

Orissamatters.com preceded mainstream newspapers of Orissa like the Sambad and the Samaj in questioning the prudence of the Prime Minister in withdrawal of the NIS from Bhubaneswar.

But as I proceeded to see what steps our State Government has taken in the matter, I was shocked to see that the Government has neither located nor offered any land for the purpose within these two years. As I could not get any information from the secretaries of both the above-mentioned departments, I preferred a letter by e-mail to the Chief Secretary in his official id seeking information on what step the state government had taken to facilitate establishment of the NIS. A copy thereof was sent to CMO. It is a matter of surprise and shock that none of the two top functionaries have shown the courtesy of responding to a necessary and proper query from an authorized person, who has been in journalism for last four decades, specifically when the query was made in State interest. Such recalcitrant has become our administration!

In these pages, we had discussed the issue on October 07 under the caption �Under whose spell the Prime Minister has done it?� and we have the pleasure of saying that on this Vijaya Dasami, which is the day of success of battle against evil, we have carried another article from Prof. Chitta Baral who has been spearheading the campaign seeking implementation of Union Government�s original decision for establishment of a NIS/IISER at Bhubaneswar.

We strongly recommend Prof. Baral�s article captioned �Why an NIS/IISER/IIT should be established in Bhubaneswar?� to the Chief Minister. He should equip himself with all the facts and personally meet the Prime Minister for the specific purpose of placing Orissa�s case for NIS/IISER. The Prime Minister of India cannot act and cannot be allowed to act arbitrarily. The previous Government had taken the decision to establish a NIS in Bhubaneswar and had involved the Parliament with this decision by placing it before the consulting Committee. Therefore the Prime Minister cannot render that decision inconsequential. Patnaik must go and tell him of this. If Mr. Singh refuses to heed to Orissa�s just demand, Patnaik must rise to the occasion and place the matter before all the chief ministers of the Country. One province cannot be allowed to hijack the project originally meant for another province and the Chief Ministers of the country must be made aware of its adverse impact on regional balance and national integration.

Why an NIS/IISER/IIT should be established in Bhubaneswar?

Why an NIS/IISER/IIT should be established
in Bhubaneswar?

Chitta Baral, Arizona State University
—————————————————————

India is economically shining as a whole. But it is falling behind
in science and technology, especially in research. According to [1],
the best Indian university, IISc Bangalore is grouped at 300-400
internationally. The next best, IIT Kharagpur is grouped 400-500
internationally. Within Asia they are grouped 37-65 and 66-93
respectively. For a long time India had 5 IITs and one IISc. Since
then even though one new IIT has been established at Guwahati and
University of Roorkee has been made to an IIT, with large population
increase and with India falling behind in Science and Technology,
there is a need for more IIT and IISc like institutions. Moreover
with India’s economy doing well now, India can financially afford to
create several more IITs and IISc like institutions. The Indian
government, scientists and academicians all are aware of the above
and thus there are plans to create more IITs and IISc like
institutions. In this context on 9th December 2003, the then HRD
minister Professor M. M. Joshi had announced [2,3] that UGC has
established steps to initiate four National Institute of Sciences
(NIS) at Bhubaneshwar, Chennai, Pune and Allahabad. Recently [4],
Prime minister Dr. Manmohan Singh announced the setting up of two
Indian Institute of Science Education and Research (IISER), which
are the same in all but name to the NIS, at Pune and Kolkata,
respectively.

Since it is a consensus that India needs more high quality
institutions like or better than the existing IITs and IISc, one of
the important questions that arises is where should these new
institutions be established. Two main principles, with some possible
tension among them, need to be followed in the determination of
locations.

1. For all around growth of India the institutions need to be
distributed across the country. (In this regard recently PM Dr.
Singh, in [5], addressed the regional imbalance issue in terms of
educational institutions and said “I trust our government as well
the state governments will take note of these findings and evolve
policies to remedy these regional imbalances.”)

2. The institutions need to be located in places where it will have
the largest impact and where it will benefit India as a whole the
most. (i.e., the biggest bang for the buck.)

Based on the marginal utility principle where the marginal
satisfaction of eating a second rosogolla is much less than eating
the first rosogolla, it is clear that biggest bang for buck of a new
IIT/NIS/IISc will be in a location or state which does not have
such an institution yet. But among these places the following
criteria becomes important:

3. The institution should be located in a place that can nurture it
locally, that has the promise to nurture it locally and that
benefits the local population also, so that the local population has
vested interest in supporting such an institution.

Finally, because of the urgency of establishing such institutions,
we need to consider the issue of:

4. Whether the location and the local and state government can help
in the quick establishment of such an institution?

We will argue here that Bhubaneswar, Orissa satisfies all the above
criteria, and if they are all taken into account it comes out in the
top among all cities in India.

(1) Currently Orissa does not have a central university [6], an
institution of national importance (such as IITs, ISI, etc.) [7], a
reputed centrally funded institute such as an IIM, or a centrally
funded IIIT or IIITM. It also does not have an autonomous science
and technology institution [8] of the department of science and
technology.

(2 and 3) We will address the issues 2 and 3 through two points. (a)
Orissa government and the people of Orissa have helped create
several top notch institutions in Bhubaneswar, Orissa which do world
class research; and (b) An IIT/IISc/NIS in Bhubaneswar will
tremendously benefit the local population, thus they will have a
vested interest in nurturing it.

(a) Orissa government and the people of Orissa have helped create
several top notch institutions in Bhubaneswar, Orissa. Notable among
them are the Institute of Physics, the Xaviers Institute of
Management and the Institute of Life Sciences, all in Bhubaneswar.
We now describe these institutes using phrases from their web pages.

The Institute Of Physics, Bhubaneswar is an autonomous research
institution funded jointly by the Department Of Atomic Energy (DAE)
and the Government of Orissa. The Institute was officially
established in 1972 by the Government of Orissa [9]. Research at
Institute of Physics is top notch by international standards. Its
alumni [10] have gone on to many good institutions all over the
world. Many of its faculty and students have preferred it over an
IIT. Its annual report [11], publication list [12], faculty vita,
and alumni biography [10] are testament to the quality of this
institution in Bhubaneswar.

The Xaviers Institute of Management [13] owes its origin to a Social
Contract between the Government of Orissa and the OJS (Orissa Jesuit
Society). It was established in 1987, and ranks among the top
business schools in India [14]. This year’s Outlook magazine ranks
it 8 in the country among various business schools, including the
IIMs. It has faculty with Ph.Ds from top business schools such as
University of Massachusetts, and Stern School of Business, NYU, New
York.

The Institute of Life Sciences, an initiative by the Govt. of
Orissa, Department of Science and Technology started a decade back.
On August 2, 2002 it came under the administrative and financial
control of Department of Biotechnology, Government of India. It was
dedicated to the nation on July 15, 2003 by the Prime Minister of
India with a declaration to develop it as “National Centre of
Excellence” engaged in research on various areas of modern biology.
The researchers of this institute publish often in international
journals [15].

To reiterate, the above three institutions were created by the
foresightedness of the Government of Orissa, and are now premier
research institutions, albeit small with limited focus, but doing
world class research and teaching. Besides these three there are
several other research institutions in and around Bhubaneswar that
do very good and useful research. This includes the Regional
Research laboratory (RRL) [17] in Bhubaneswar, the Regional medical
research center (RMRC) [18] (see page 123 125) in Bhubaneswar, the
Central Rice research institute (CRRI) [19] in Cuttack , the central
institute of fresh water aquaculture (CIFA) [20,21] in Bhubaneswar,
and the national institute of rehabilitation training and research
[22] in Olatpur. In additions two fledgling institutions, the
Institute of Material sciences [23] and the Institute of mathematics
and application [24] have been established by the Government of
Orissa and are in their beginning stages.

The above illustrates, how Bhubaneswar and Orissa have established
and nurtured top notch research and educational institutions. Thus
one can extrapolate and conclude that with high probability an
NIS/IISER/IIT in Bhubaneswar will be very successful and well
nurtured. Nevertheless, as we mentioned earlier, it is important
that an institution like NIS/IISER/IIT should have some significant
benefit to the local population, lest the local population feel
alienated by it.

(b) In the greater Bhubaneswar area (which includes Puri and
Cuttack) there are now 2 state funded and 19 private engineering
colleges. An NIS/IISER/IIT in Bhubaneswar will benefit these
institutions as a place where the faculty of the local colleges can
pursue higher education (without moving away and thus negatively
affecting their parent institutions), the local colleges can recruit
high quality faculty from among the NIS/IISER/IIT graduates, and the
students of the local colleges can pursue summer research and
training at the NIS/IISER/IIT. Besides Bhubaneswar and its vicinity
have a large range of industries with many more industries set to
come. This includes metal based industries such as NALCO to software
companies such as Infosys and Satyam, and planned operations of TCS,
and Wipro. There will be significant synergy between these
industries and the proposed NIS/IISER/IIT in terms of joint
research, students of NIS/IISER/IIT pursuing practical training at
the industries, and employees of the industries pursuing higher
degree at the NIS/IISER/IIT. In addition Orissa has two STPs (at
Bhubaneswar, Rourkela), and one more STP in Berhampur in the making,
which will provide opportunities to the graduates of the
NIS/IISER/IIT to incubate start-up companies. Thus, with great
benefit potential of an NIS/IISER/IIT to the local population and
the benefit to the NIS/IISER/IIT from existing infrastructure,
Bhubaneswar is an ideal place for establishing an NIS/IISER/IIT.

Now moving on to the final point, because of the urgency an
NIS/IISER/IIT can be immediately started in Bhubaneswar by using
some of its existing infrastructure.

(3) In particular, the Institute of Physics and the Institute of
Life Sciences can be the starting point of an NIS/IISER/IIT. The
picturesque Institute of Physics campus can be used to start an
NIS/IISER/IIT right away. As mentioned earlier, Bhubaneswar also has
the beginning of an Institute of Material Science, and an Institute
of Mathematics and Applications, which may be folded into an
NIS/IISER/IIT. If an NIS/IISER/IIT is started in Bhubaneswar, the
Institute of Physics and Institute of Life Sciences faculty can form
the initial core faculty and teach the first classes until the
institute hires additional faculty. The researchers at Regional
medical research center, and Regional research laboratory can also
chip in.

Conclusion: In summary, Bhubaneswar is the best in the country with
respect to the various criteria necessary for the next location of
an NIS/IISER/IIT. It is clear that for that reason, in December
2003, the then HRD minister Professor M. M. Joshi had announced
[2,3] that UGC has established steps to initiate one of the four
National Institute of Sciences at Bhubaneswar. Unfortunately, for
some reason the recent announcements for IISER did not include
Bhubaneswar. Although this injustice needs to be corrected for many
other reasons, by its own merit, as we elaborated in this article,
Bhubaneswar, Orissa deserves an NIS/IISER/IIT immediately and we
sincerely hope the central government will agree with us and pursue
this at the earliest.

———————————————————————

[1] http://ed.sjtu.edu.cn/ranking.htm

[2]. http://www.ugc.ac.in/pub/jan_2004/12.htm

[3].
http://pib.nic.in/archieve/lreleng/lyr2003/rdec2003/10122003/r1012200
313.html

[4]. http://pib.nic.in/release/release.asp?relid=12305

[5]. http://in.rediff.com/news/2005/sep/28pm1.htm

[6]. List of central Universities
http://www.ugc.ac.in/inside/utype.php?st=Central%20University,
http://www.education.nic.in/htmlweb/autbod.htm (NONE in Orissa)

[7]. List of Institute of National Importance from
http://www.ugc.ac.in/inside/utype.php?st=Institute%20of%20National%
20Importance
(NONE in Orissa)

[8]. List of autonomous Science and Technology Institutions from
http://dst.gov.in/autonomous/autonomous_index.htm (NONE in Orissa)

[9] http://www.iopb.res.in/overview.php

[10] http://www.iopb.res.in/~alumni/members/members.html

[11] http://www.iopb.res.in/~library/ar_02_03/

[12] http://www.iopb.res.in/~library/ar_02_03/Publications.pdf

[13] http://www.ximb.ac.in/about/

[14]http://www.orissalinks.com/#ximb

[15] http://www.ilsc.org/

[16] http://www.ilsc.org/publication.htm

[17] http://www.rrlbhu.res.in/publication.html

[18] http://www.icmr.nic.in/000517/ann2002.pdf

[19] http://crri.nic.in/accomplishments.htm

[20] http://www.stpbh.soft.net/cifa/list_of_extfundedproject.doc

[21] http://www.stpbh.soft.net/cifa/insti_based.doc

[22] http://nirtar.nic.in/

[23] http://orissagov.nic.in/sciencetechnology/ims.htm

[24] http://orissagov.nic.in/sciencetechnology/ima.htm

SOCIAL SLAVERY GETS OFFICIAL SUPPORT: PROTESTOR IMPRISONED

Subhas Chandra Pattanayak

baghambarMr Baghambar Pattanayak, the suave social activist of Puri is in Jharapada Special Jail at Bhubaneswar since 04October 05.

He is jailed not for any economic or criminal offence; but because he headed a protest rally against social slavery in the Capital City of the State. The rally was not an impromptu occurrence. Government had been duly notified of it and in appropriate manner. Instead of heeding to a just and humanitarian cause, police was used to demoralize the protestors by engineering imprisonment of their leader. Pattanayak is happy that he has dared the jail in the cause of social justice. But by sending him to Jail the State Administration is caught in flagrante delicto in supporting a social evil like slavery.

Visitors of this portal are acquainted with Sri Pattanayak’s campaign against upper caste oppression let loose on members of the barber caste in specifically the district of Puri. Government is well aware of the fact that 82 families of barbers in 17 villages of Puri district are being socially and economically boycotted by the upper castes after their refusal to continue the age old practice of washing feet and cleaning up the ort in public functions and other inhuman and degrading traditions. Our report dated 24 August 05 would remind you of how convincingly the human rights activists under leadership of Sri Pattanayak had put forth the grievances of the disadvantaged barbers vis-a-vis the constitutional framework for eradication of bonded labor in this particular sector.

The District administration having no inclination to heed to it, upper caste hoodlums who are bent upon to perpetuate this slavery could contrive a new method of torture designed to frighten up the agitators to such an extent that they would think a thousand times before raising their voice against the oppression in future.

They jumped on their women folk and denuded four of them; assaulted and paraded them in that wretched condition under the scorching sun to the dastardly amusement of the perpetrators of caste superiority in the village of Bhubanpati under Brahmagiri Police Station of Puri on 19 September 2005. Profusely covered by media, this heinous assault on human rights rocked the entire State, but the State Government remained recalcitrant.

Perpetrators of this crime have so much confidence in the collaboration of the State, that they have got united under the banner of Kshyatriya Khandayat Mahasabha and resolved to thwart any attempt that they would find inconvenient to their social tradition of using barbers for feet-washing and ort cleaning. It is a shame that the Government has not yet thought it prudent to take these asserters to task even though their resolution is designed to precipitate social violence.

In such a State, under such an administration, what else could have happened to Sri Pattanayak than incarceration for championing the cause of the oppressed?