Abduction of Italian in Orissa; Issue Involves Human Rights Not Only of the Foreigner, But Also of Hundreds of the Oriyas

Subhas Chandra Pattanayak

The abductors of two Italians – one of whom has already been released – in Kandhamal of Orissa, can be condemned for contravention of human rights in their respect.

But, the three demands the abductors have projected as prerequisite to release of the other one from their hostage raise a question as to whether human rights of greater number of people of Orissa violated by the State, deserve equal attention and care or not.

The soil of Orissa has bathed in blood many a times by police bullets in the name of Naxal encounters. But that the police had coined cases of false encounter to cover up killing in cold blood whosoever was found disadvantageous to misrule, has been established by findings of Courts and Human Rights Commission. To honor the victims’ Human Rights at least posthumously, the abductors have demanded that, the police officials involved in those false encounters be prosecuted against and punished.

To keep people intimidated in order to stop any voice rising against exploitation and misrule, hundreds of them are thrown into jails under charges of being Naxals or their sympathizers. The courts have held that the cases lodged against them were false cases and ordered for their release. Yet the police has kept them under detention. The abductors have demanded that innocent and illiterate people thus victimized by the State be released immediately and compensated.

The third most emphasized demand of theirs is release from jails of the supporters of Naxalism as people have every right to support the political economy they deem most suitable for betterment of the country.

Do these demands not demand attention of human rights activists all over the world who really are honest in their purpose?

Kejriwal’s Tirade of Abuse Hurled at Indian Parliament is a Game that Plutocrats Play

Subhas Chandra Pattanayak

Indian Parliament, which has not yet been able to codify its privileges, had to hear vociferous harping on about its privilege breached by anti-corruption campaigner Arvind Kejriwal in attributing non-materialization of the Jan Lokpal Bill to its being a House of criminals, to whom the Bill cannot but be an anathema.

Cutting across party lines, members wanted punishment for Kejriwal for the tirades of abuse he had hurled at the rampart of democracy.

The Speaker, however, tactfully closed a short-duration discussion, propelled by debates on Monday, on Tuesday with remarks that any comment detrimental to dignity of Parliament was “unwarranted and unacceptable”.

Had it any impact on Kejriwal?

No.

To him, the House should have addressed itself to introspection instead of spending so much energy on reaction to his remark.

As 162 of its members are charged with heinous crimes, it would not be surprising if the Jan Lokpal Bill does not materialize, he claims to have said.

When reasoning out as to why the anti-corruption bill is not materializing in the Parliament is not a direct disrespect shown to the Parliament, it cannot be overlooked that the inordinate delay in bringing out the law is enhancing credibility of a combine that has no real agenda for eradication of corruption.

We are sure, adoption of the Bill and creation of the so-called Jan Lokpal will not end or even control corruption in India.

As long as right viruses rule the roost, corruption shall continue to grow; because corruption is a method that adopters of Political Economy of Inequality – the plutocrats – use to stay safe and to prosper.

So, the opposite economy i.e. the Political Economy of Equality is the only way to curb corruption.

Kejriwal and his forum, the so-called Anna team, do not subscribe to Political Economy of Equality.

So, we suspect, they are just a combine that acts to divert mass awakening against corruption by promoting an environment that does not encourage evolution of Political Economy of Equality as the pivot of Indian progress.

Passive resistance to corruption is no resistance; because no corruption is passively practiced. It is aggressively practiced by self-seekers and therefore, its eradication entirely depends on aggressive attack on factors of corruption. The so-called Anna team and its so-called Gandhian way is not for aggressive attack and hence, is, in reality, against eradication of corruption.

The corrupt fellows that have ruined India have been enhancing credibility of this shrewd combine, so that the masses of India, who are waking up against maladies the country is suffering from, can be misled by this team to accept corruption as the substitute to corruption in the same way the people had accepted the Janata conglomerate as substitute to the Congress government, misled by Jayaprakash Narayan in the 1970s.

It would be wrong not to remember that when sporadic but aggressive protests against economic inequalities and exploitation were in the rise and the people suffocated due to corruption in every sphere of administration were in massive numbers joining the protests, Anna Hazare, with a Gandhi cap, was all on a sudden projected by corporate media as the new Gandhi capable of freeing the country of corruption and the most corrupt team so far to have taken over power, led by Dr. Manmohan Singh, had rushed to Anna in a way that only enhanced his credibility in public eyes exactly as Indira Gandhi had enhanced JP’s credibility by accepting him as the greatest political arbitrator, by forcing out of office her party’s Chief Minister of Gujarat Chimanbhai Patel on 9 February 1974 at his instance. But that, JP was not really against corruption manifested when the same Chimanbhai, after being expelled from the Congress on corruption charges, became the chief architect of a government by Janata Morcha that took oath on 18 June 1975. This Janata Morcha was so corrupt that it could not even complete one year in office and on 12 March 1975, its life had ended leading to rebirth of a Congress government in the state.

So, the corrupt government of Manmohan Singh inviting Anna to draft a Bill for the Lokpal of his concept, a group of elite of no unquestionable track records emerging as members of Anna team, the extra-constitutional drafting of the Bill fetching official collaboration through joint sessions of the so-called Anna team with committee of central ministers, the deliberate official delays in consideration thereof to give the Anna team required situations to consolidate its credibility as the real crusader against corruption by insisting on its ready adoption, the rabid right-wingers rallying behind him, denigration of Parliament by a Mumbai mainstream actor from Anna’s hunger-strike podium, Kejriwal’s tirades against MPs, barren reprimands behind his back in the house melting in a ruling of no action against attributing mala fide motive to Parliament and willful attempt to denigrate its dignity in public eyes, another member of the Anna team – Kiran Bedi – supporting and justifying Kejriwal even after the Speaker’s ruling, are a few samples of instances that have been used to enhance credibility of the so-called Anna movement, just to create a situation where people will like to rely more and more upon Anna in the present phase of their awakening so that in the consequence, the real beneficiaries of the current system stay safe, as the so-called JP movement had ensured, sans any change in political economy that has helped them build up their private empires in the Republic of India.

So, the unpunished tirade of abuse hurled at the Parliament of India by Anna team is a part of the game that plutocrats are shrewdly playing, and nothing else.

For every Indian patriot, to whom emancipation of the people matters, this poses a challenge.

Abduction of MLA Jhina Hikaka: Whither are We?

Subhas Chandra Pattanayak

“The general public of Koraput District are facing numerous socio-economic hardships due to liquor trade and also dying premature due to consumotion of liquor. So there should be total prohibition in this scheduled District for the improvement and all round development of the masses as well as locality”.

Thus had written Jhina Hikaka, MLE from Laxmipur to Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik in a letter he had coauthored with other elected representatives of Koraput District and were he to attend the Assembly, he was to stress on this in his debate. This was not acceptable to his party, the ruling party.

In this letter, he had also stressed on preservation of the eco-system of the hill ranges of Mali and Deomali. When this was also not palatable to the ruling party, his participation in the Assembly might possibly have embarassed the government were he to make a mention of this matter.

The letter had also stressed on stoppage of state terror perpitrated on innocent people in the guise of hounding left ultras just to subject the people to waves of intimidation so that they remain too panicked to open their mouths against illadministration. Had he participated in Assembly proceedings, there was possibility of this matter gushing out into debates. That could have embarassed the government.

“We further request you to undertake steps to curtail PC (percentage) to government officials in contract works”, the letter underlined. This is how the letter not only stressed on end of a wrong practice, but also exposed how development projects are being looted by contractors in nexus with authorites as work orders are being placed with the contractors by officials pocketing portions of their profit by means of percentage. This matter could have embarassed the government had Hikaka been present in the Assembly to participate in debates.

Another point stressed in the letter is anathema to Naveen Patnaik’s administration as it prods the Chief Miniter into action for release of the members of Chasi Mulia Sangh, imlicated in false cases by the police and wrongfully kept in jails even after competent courts have acquitted them. Had Hekaka got the opportunity, he could have raised this point to the embarrassment of the CM in real sense.

Is it, hence, possible that his alleged abduction is engineered by the ruling party to prempt any debate on these points in the ongoing session?

Question may arise as to why he alone has been picked up – if at all the ruling party has engineered it – when two other MLAs, Rabi Narayan Nanda of Joypore and Raghuram Podal of Koraput, who are also competent to raise the issue in the Assembly, had also subscribed the letter?

The possible answer lies in the distingishability of Hikaka from others of BJD, as it is he, who alone is close to Chasi Mulia Sangh to the extent of being the factor of BJD’s alliance with it in the Panchayat polls that has, on the basis of this alliance only, given the ruling party the Chair of the Koraput Zilla Parisad.

Whither really are we?

One Italian Released, the Other in Crux of a Question the Government must Answer

Subhas Chandra Pattanayak

Italian tourist Claudio Colangelo, held hostage since March 14 by Maoists, has been released at the place of his abduction in Kandhamal in the afternoon of March 25, in a hope that the government would understand the positive gesture and stop state terror unleashed on progressive ultras and fulfill the pending promises made during earlier negotiations incorporated in the instant charter of 13 demands.

Release of the other Italian, Paolo Bosusco, would depend on government response to the instant gesture, leader Sabyasachi Panda has said while handing over Claudio to a team of media persons.

To a private TV channel, he, however, has given a reason of zeroing in on the Italians. In the guise of tourists they were trying to track private life style of tribal women and capturing pictures of their natural lustier as if they were commodities for joy of the foreigners. Taking them to hostage was meant to tell them as well as to the world outside, that tribal women of Orissa living in deep forests are not commodities of tourists interest and must not be considered so, Panda has stated.

Paolo, who has not been released, hails from a place in North Italy and has been staying in Puri since 23 years, is a tourist visa holder. He is working under a cover that he has contrived and christened as ‘Orissa trekking and Adventure’ with its office on Chakratirtha Raod. This being a commercial venture, how he is allowed to operate it is a conundrum.

The progressive ultras having taken him to hostage and having not released him with the man he had taken for the “adventure trekking” is a matter that makes the government answerable on how the Italian is allowed and by whom so allowed to operate the “trekking and adventure” venture in stark contravention of visa terms.

A detail investigation into the Italian’s activities in Orissa is now a must for the government.

Martyrization Martyrs: Stop this Farce Please

Subhas Chandra Pattanayak

I have full sympathy, which is never less than any’s, for the bereaved family of late Havildar Niranjan Sundarray, who succumbed to a grenade injury last Wednessday at Noida when it accidentally exploded while imparting training to jawans as a part of his duty.

His body was given guard of honor on arrival at Bhubaneswar airport with floral tributes offered by ruling party MP Prasanna Patasani and the DIG of CRPF among others.

In his village Ratanpur, he was cremated with state honor as a martyr.

I have full respect for the departed soul and I wish,he should never have faced this accident.

Yet I feel, martyrization does not fit into this case.

I have discussed this issue earlier in these pages.

It is my considered opinion that death of a Jawan, that too in an accident, should never make him a martyr.

Jawans are paid for the job assigned to them. And, their job is such that death on duty is always considered a part of life.

So, death of a Jawan is a part of his job, not a gateway to martyrdom.

To a jawan who dies on duty, the nation has enough honors to offer posthumously. And, all those honors are legal. If necessary, many more honors can be created with fabulous cash prizes for welfare of his bereaved family.

But none but the freedom fighters who have sacrificed their lives for our emancipation should be honored as a martyr.

Martyrization of paid uniformed men really martyrs. The sooner the farce stops the better.

AICGPA :A PLATFORM TO RESOLVE CENTRAL GOVERNMENT PENSIONERS’ GRIEVANCES

By Sangram Keshari Nayak, General Secretary, AICGPA

(The All India Central Government Pensioners Association (AICGPA), Odisha has completed 26 years of its service to the pensioners. The author of this article being a former Pricnipal Scientist & HOD, Central Rice Research Institute, Cuttack, has tremendus administrative experience via-a-vis the issues that often affect retired employees. This article is meant to share his concern with our visitors who belong specifically to this sector. Editor)

AICGPA was founded in the year 1984. It was duly registered under the Registration of Societies Act vide No. 4454-124/1986-97. Humbly yet initially it started to function at the residence of Sri Bhramarbar Mohanti after his retirement as Additional Chief Post Master General from Indian Postal Service. Sri Mohanty, the Founder President with only a handful of like minded friends started a self styled consecrated office at his residence, 355, Ganga Mandir, Cuttack. The Association with a band of dedicated Members never leave a stone unturned to resolve heterogonous array of problems afflicting central government pensioners in terms of availing justice such as a) delay in settlement of entitled pension and related ancillary benefits, b) expediting family pension in the event of death of the pensioner or even extending the facility to eligible children, c) grant of compensation to Members sustaining injury on duty (IOD) leading to incapacity, d) timely disbursement of Fixed Medical Allowance and DA as and when updated by the Ministry, e) appraisal of updated pension rules, pension schemes and ensuring time frame relief, f) catalyzing the determination of pension and providing logistics to avail preference of benefits, g) holistic welfare activities and also associated activities related to entertainment, cultural functions, health camps, periodical gesture to orphanages, support to poor and handicapped patients, rendering relief to victims of natural calamities etc. Thus, the Association is committed to more or less provide a turn key solution in a single window system.

The Association has more than 2000 enrolled Life Members besides 500 or more Members from its Branch network. It works in coordination with its supporting branches at Chadeidhara, Raghunathpur, Govindpur, Khurda, Jagatsinghpur and Cuttack Sadar. It musters solidarity to develop more number of Branches in remote areas (recently Bairi) to provide a better linkage to vulnerable pensioners. The Association is accredited for its agility in resolving various grievances with amicable negotiation with competent authorities. The Association is affiliated to National level forums and associations not only to append leverage to their genuine demands but also to appraise the conscientious forums to enable prioritize items of importance.

The AICGPA office is located at the Kanika Square (behind Akshya Mohanty Park) which is provided by the Cuttack Municipal Corporation, Cuttack on a token lease basis. Besides regular day to day activities, it conducts Executive Body Meeting on every 2nd Sunday to scrutinize, analyze and meticulously formulate course of action. Different Branches under its recognition and affiliation also organize monthly meetings which are conveniently scheduled to facilitate the regular visit of our Organizing Secretary besides periodical visits by Senior Office Bearers to sensitize its members on various relevant issues and try to focus their demands on priority basis. The proceedings and achievements are comprehensively consolidated and gets published in its much acclaimed quarterly bulletin known as ‘Pension Samachar’ which is circulated to its Members, Ministry and other Associations for better exchange of ideas and interaction. The Association observes Independence Day, Republic Day, Pensioners’ Day etc which are invariably punctuated with benevolent social activities like supporting study materials to poor students, visits to orphanages to spend some emotional moments with inmates and share lunch as well as games while imparting many of our cultural and traditional values for inculcation. It organizes Health Camps and tries to sponsor such camps in collaboration. Not to forget, at times it organizes picnics at selected spots to enjoy nature, fun and possibly rejuvenate fresh enthusiasm to dedicate more rigorously for the cause and concern of Senior Citizens.

We are a privileged body recognized by the Ministry of Personnel, Public Grievances and Pensioners under which the Department of Pension & Pensioners’ Welfare functions dynamically to resolve problems of pensioners at large besides generating formulation of befitting rules for better governance. There are more than 150 Associations in the country out of which 28 Associations are recognized by the Ministry for logistic and financial grants to function effectively. The special body is known as ‘Pensioners Portal’ under centralized National e_Governance Programme (NeGP).

Our Association is one of the privileged grantee by the Ministry, Government of India to implement web based Mission Mode Pensioners Portal under National e_Governance Plan to coordinate multifaceted activities like formulating pension and retirement related policies, extensively circulate information and above every thing else it has developed online mechanisms to register grievances for timely and effective redressal. The member Associations are advised on the modalities to handle various grievances and have access to register varieties of pension related or non related issues through a single window CPENGRAMS (Centralized Web-enabled Pension Grievance Redress and Monitoring System) an online web-enabled system, now designated as CPGRAMS . This has convincingly bridged the gap between stakeholders and the Government not only in giving relief to aggrieved pensioners but also making them aware of their rights and responsibilities as well as obligations. It is an integrated application system, based on web technology which registers grievances from anywhere and any time (24×7) basis. Besides, it is an efficient communication system between the nodal Pension Grievance Officers of Government Organizations and pensioners that facilitates speedy redressal of grievances.

We, by default have the access to represent to Standing Committee Of Voluntary Agencies (SCOVA) 1986 as per the recommendations of Parliamentary Consultative Committee. It provides valuable feedback to the Government for effective implementation of the programmes and gives direction for the future course of action. Our sister concern at Bhubaneswar is a sitting Member with voting right that gives us confidence to strengthen our healthy tradition of constructive endeavour.

The Association regularly represents in Pension Adalats of various Departments like Railways, Postal etc. This ADALAT system is of recent concept. The ADALAT hears to our submissions with patience and tries to ameliorate and redress the grievances expeditiously. In fact, we are very much impressed with the functioning of ADALATs. Recently, the Ministry has released guidelines for its further aggressive procedural improvements for better interfacing with Associations like us as well as various NGOs and others.

The Association observed its 13th Biennial Conference (21st February 2012) to mark completion of 26 years of its glorious functioning with documented many milestone achievements. We at the holy sanctuary of the pensioners at AICGPA promise to sustain our relentless and unstinted service to the Members and also to Non Members indiscriminately to restore smile and faith amongst our pensioners’ fraternity.

(the author is reachable digitally at: icgpa_orissa@rediffmail.com and physically at 1245, 1st Floor, Shri Hanumanji Lane, Mahandi Vihar, Cuttack, with office behind Akshya Mohanty Park, Kanika Square, Cuttack 8. He can be contacted over phone: 9437311135)

FITNESS MART TO CREATE HEALTH AWARENESS IN BHUBANESESWAR

A physical fitness equipment outlet styled ‘Fitness Mart’ was inaugurated on march 23 in Acharya Vihar, Bhubaneswar by senior journalist Prasanta Patnaik in presence of professional colleague Premananda Dash. The unit is promoted by two young Oriya entrepreneurs Bhramarbar Malla and Saroj Kumar Sahu.

With shrinking of public parks and open spaces, as density of population grow phenomenally in the city, gyms are increasingly emerging as labs of fitness, for which equipments are essential, said Sri Patnaik.

Health clubs and gymnasiums are best when run on community initiatives; yet, individuals to whom membership therein is not alluring for any reason, can develop personal gyms in their respective homes with the equipments that the Mart can supply, he said.

He, however cautioned that it should always be proper for individuals to take physician advice as to which short of exercise and equipment should best suit them and stressed on health awareness.

Both Malla and Sahu informed that the the outlet would supply the equipments at the door steps of the consumers with all technical support.