The Supreme Court Should Have Used Sen’s Case to Save India from Plutocratic Terrorism

Subhas Chandra Pattanayak

The Supreme Court Bench comprising Justice H.S.Bedi and Justice K.C.Prasad will be remembered for having granted bail on April 15, 2011 to Dr. Binayak Sen, the legendary victim of Plutocratic terrorism, who was, by Chhatishgarh government, thrown into rigorous life imprisonment under charges of sedition for alleged possession of Maoist literature as well as for harboring and /or helping them.

Dr. Sen has expressed happiness over the Apex Court’s order; but, after being released he has told PTI, “the case against me is still going on and I have to fight it with all the means at my disposal”.

All the patriots framed up by exploitative State under charges of sedition are not attracting global attention and Supreme Court consideration as Dr. Sen could do. They are, as under-trial criminals: majority in jails and a rare few enlarged on bails, perishing for no fault of theirs.

Dr. Sen’s case is an instance of how easy has it become for administration to clamp sedition charges on persons that have humanitarian sympathy for the suffering masses. They are being branded as or sympathizers of the Maoists to face prosecution under charges of sedition.

Orissa is an enormous storehouse of instances of this mischief.

Even the journalists, who are dutifully reporting on the plight of the people, are being charged with sedition. I give below two sample instances:

One: Keertichandra Sahu, reporter of Anupam Bharat, having exposed the Utkal Alumina Plant of the Aditya Birla group over the havoc it plays on the environment as well as the life of innocent and ignorant tribals and workers kept as casual workers sans any service condition, was arrested on 14 February 2004 by the police at Kashipur of Kalahandi under charges of sedition and since then is perishing under the framed up case.

Two: NGOs such as Sajag and Sahabhagi Vikash Abhiyan had shown, unemployment problem along with the condition of starvation and semi-starvation among the Kamar families was growing day by day. This had prompted two freelancing TV reporters of Nuapada District, Puturam Sunani and Meghanad Kharsel to keep a watch on Nangalghat in Sinapalli Block, as it was a hamlet of Kamar caste people. And in course of time, information reached them that under stark starvation the helpless ones in that hamlet were eating limestone, locally known as jhikiri. Initially unable to believe, they reached Nangalghat on 25.5.2007 and found that the starved people were really eating the stones. They took video recording of one Baru Singh Pahadia while eating stone and sent the same to their respective medias including OTV for further action. OTV telecasted the horrifying scene at 7 P.M. of 31 May 2007. Immediately thereafter, bags of rice were put in the houses of the villagers, job-cards pushed into families, a tube-well was dug overnight and both the reporters were arrested under charges of sedition, as, to the authorities, their reports were designed to destabilize the government. Revenue Minister Man Mohan Samal (as then he was) condemned both of the journalists in rudest possible terms while informing the Orissa Legislative Assembly the next day on June 01, 2007 of the “criminal cases” instituted against them. He had not even hesitated to mislead the House with false and manufactured reports on availability of job to Nangalghat villagers and their, including Baru Singh’s, food stability. The mischief was exposed in these pages. And, soon the Center for Environment and Food Security (CEFS) come out with details of “hunger, poverty and deprivation” prevalent in the region and observed, “the scenario looks worse than Sub-Saharan Africa”. Yet, both the TV reporters had to face prosecution under sedition charges for having shown to the society this terrible fact.

When these are instances of journalists framed up to face charges of sedition because of their reporting on plights of the people, there are journalists in Orissa that are charged for sedition simply because their reports went against certain members of the police force. One example:

Orissa’s highest editional Sambad has its man in Laxman Choudhury at Mohana. He has been subjected to charges of sedition simply because he exposed the nexus between the area Inspector of Police and the marijuana mafia. The Inspector contrived a method to teach him a lesson and accordingly clamped a case of sedition against him on concocted allegation that a packet of Maoist leaflets was seized from a private bus conductor who, he claimed, informed him that the packet was meant for Chaudhury. Later the said Inspector was caught redhanded by the Vigilance Police while receiving his share of profit from the marijuana mafia; but despite repeated requests from Media Unity for Freedom of Press, the false case of sedition that the corrupt Inspector had cooked up against him has not yet been withdrawn.

From the records of agreement between the State Government of Orissa and the mediators during the course of negotiation for release of Malkangiri district collector R Vineel Krishna and junior engineer Pabitra Mohan Majhi from Maoist hostage, it transpires that, as many as 600 illiterate tribals are perishing in prisons under sedition charges, because, misusers of power wanted them prosecuted that way for their supposed links with the Maoists.

In Dr. Sen’s case, Mr. Justice Bedi told the lawyer of the prosecuting State that if it was real that some materials on Maoist ideology were found in his possession, that does not make out a case of sedition.

“We are a democratic country. He may be a sympathizer. That does not make him guilty of sedition”, said the Justice.

His judicial wisdom made him ask the state lawyer, “If Mahatma Gandhi’s autobiography is found in somebody’s place, is he a Gandhian? No case of sedition is made out on the basis of materials in possession unless you show that he was actively helping or harboring them [Maoists].”

And, thus, Dr. Sen’s enlargement on bail was shaped.

But here is how justice failed to fully blossom.

While saying that possession of Maoist materials does not make one a Maoist, the Apex Court should simultaneously have determined if Maoism is an act of sedition.

That could have expedited the end of Dr. Sen’s turmoil as well as of the massive number of Indians perishing under charges of sedition, framed up as Maoists or their supporters / helper /harborers. Even the persons in whose support the Maoists raise their voice, are being projected as Maoists like the tribals / forest-dwellers / landless laborers of Orissa – as the 600 persons mentioned supra – and being tried under charges of sedition. It has become easiest for the exploitative state to project any antagonist to economic inequality / exploitation / corruption / maladministration as Maoist and torture him / her under charges of sedition.

If, for judicial decision on right to liberty, the Constitution of India provides the base, it is pertinent to revisit the Constituent Assembly debates, specifically of the concluding session where Dr. Ambedkar, whom we regard as the creator of the Constitution, had to answer to the last debates, before it was adopted.

In reply to the debates on third reading of the draft Constitution, he had said, “ On 26th January 1950, we are going to enter into a life of contradiction. In politics we will have equality and in social and economic rights we will have inequality. In politics we will be recognizing the principle of one man and one vote, one value. In our social and economic rights we shall by reason of our social and economic structure, continue to deny one man one value…We must remove this contradiction at the earliest possible moment or else those who suffer from inequality will blow up the structure of political democracy which this Assembly has so laboriously built up”. (Constituent Assembly Debates, Vol.XI, p.979).

Are these words of Dr. Ambedkar’s anxiety and warning capable of being interpreted as expression of sedition? If not, no amount of antagonism expressed against economic and social inequality, even if the antagonists project themselves as Maoists, can be termed as sedition.

And, what is Maoism? It is a political ism opposed to capitalism.

The country can run on only two political economies. It is either political economy of capitalism or political economy of socialism. Prime Minister Man Mohan Singh stands for the former and the Maoists for the later.

Mixed economy propounded and practiced by Nehru has been experienced as a path-paver for peaceful transformation of democracy to plutocracy and a silent killer of socialism in support of capitalism. So, either capitalism or socialism is relevant.

When India, running under capitalism, is experiencing all out corruption in every sphere of administration, has become a land of starvation deaths, has become a land of farmers’ suicide, a land of distress sale of babies by starving mothers, a land of distress sale of paddies by loan-ravaged farmers, a land of unemployment for the unprivileged, a land of inequality in scope of education, a land of inequality in availing healthcare, a land of turmoil for the majority of citizens, a land of parliamentary manipulation, land of cash-for-question parliament, a land of cash-for-confidence vote, a land of nonchalant bureaucracy, a land of no-land-to-landless, a land of displacement of tillers for benefit of private trade operators, a land of religious revivalism and acrimonious communalism, a land of commission agents’ supremacism, a land of State-terror and all sorts of mass-harassing methods and lastly has become a grazing ground of profit-seeking foreigners that have started dictating terms, the people who want India extricated from this mess, will certainly oppose capitalism and hence they will want the country to change its course to political economy of socialism, which also is enshrined in its constitution as its resolve.

Maoism is a sort of expression of determination to lead the country to socialism.

It encourages oppressed people to revolt against the capitalist state so that India can extricate herself from the labyrinth of social and economic inequalities, which, unless done, would, as Dr. Ambedkar apprehended, “blow up the structure of political democracy” that the Constituent Assembly had “so laboriously built up”. (cited supra).

Revolt against a capitalist (exploitative) State is not revolt against the State that the people of India in their Constitution had resolved to have.

Hence Maoism cannot be same as sedition.

The Supreme Court should have appreciated this in putting a complete look into Dr. Sen’s case and saved the country of innumerable litigations over wrong interpretation of Maoism as manner of sedition by the crafty perpetrators of plutocratic terrorism and thereby could have saved the people from perishing under charges of sedition without having ever acted seditious.

But as nice hopes cannot die, one hopes, a day will come, when a Bench of the Supreme Court to come, will cogitate upon this issue and settle the matter for ever.

ALLOW WORKERS TO AUDIT COMPANY FUNDS AND EFFICIENCY

Subhas Chandra Pattanayak

In the guise of global economic crisis, various industrial and commercial establishments have already created an environment of job-insecurity for workers; some alert exploiters having already resorted to lay off / retrenchment even as labor laws implementation authorities in various States have got proforma requests from various companies for permission to impose lay off.

And, as is the wont of administration, it would be the rarest thing to watch if in any case permissions is denied.

So, the regime has, in the name of development, developed an environment of lay off and retrenchment and rampant job-insecurity.

International pressure is a ploy. Our peoples need employment and job security. They are being dragged into unemployment and job-insecurity. This is the reality.

It is noteworthy that the companies that are resorting to lay off / retrenchment, are not closing down their establishments. This means, the companies shall run to meet the demands of the markets but shall run with less personnel. In other words, works shall not stop. Production shall go on. But less number of workers will shoulder larger workloads with the same or lessened salaries.

Hand in glove with the players of world exploitation network, the “right viruses” are in a position to eat away the climate of job-security in India.

And, the industrial employers who prosper by usurping the surplus value of labor have got the golden opportunity to get more works done by lesser number of workers. So, sure, there will now open up an unprecedented era of lay off and retrenchment. And, scheming managements will marshal false evidences of financial loss to obtain permission for lay off/ retrenchments.

Industrial Laws provide for adjudication on legality of lay off or retrenchment and Labor Courts and Tribunals shall now swell up with disputes. But any body having any experience of functioning of the Labor Courts and Tribunals know the victimized worker will seldom survive to get a bit of justice.

What should be done in the circumstances?

To me it occurs that there is only a single way to save the workers from unwanted lay off / retrenchment.

This way should be enforced by the central government with immediate effect and applicability to the entire geographical limits of India.

If the central government is not a box of “right-viruses” but a set up with concern for the working class, it should promulgate that every management that proposes for or proceeds to impose lay off or retrenchment, must allow the worker to be affected by its order to personally or collectively or through his / her agent audit the accounts and efficiency of management of the concerned company or establishment to determine as to whether the said company or establishment has suffered or is about to suffer genuine losses to justify the lay off / retrenchment.

If this does not happen, it may lead us to infer that the “right-viruses” have only one intension and that is to eat away the climate of job security of our peoples under the cover of “globalisation”.

Of course, the government can ban lay off and retrenchment altogether and ensure job-security to workers.

KANDHAMAL CONFLICT: ORISSA POLICE CHIEF IN THE TRAP OF CONFUSED CONCEPT

Subhas Chandra Pattanayak

Taking over from superannuated Director General of Police Sri Gopal Nanda, the new DGP Sri Man Mohan Praharaj has put priority on ending communal conflicts in Kandhamal.

Communal conflicts are not absolutely criminal in character. Hence how can Sri Praharaj lead police to end them?

Every peace-loving and patriotic citizen must want that there should never be any communal conflict. But utopia has nowhere come true. And, Kandhamal is no exception.

As I have discussed earlier, communal conflicts are religious conflicts. As long as every religion is not banned there shall exist different religions. Existence of different religions means existence of rival religions. Existence of rival religions means existence of rival communalities. Existence of rival communalities means existence of the fire of communal conflicts. Police cannot extinguish this fire. So the new Orissa DGP’s assertion that he will end communal conflicts in Kandhamal as his first work is mere sophomoric.

As the new DGP took over, curfew has been promulgated afresh in Kandhamal. This itself is the proof of the fact that despite earlier repressive steps taken by the police, communal rivalry has not ended as yet.

Orissa High Court has asked the Union to press more police to action in Kandhamal. The Judiciary is worried over continuing communal conflicts. But verdicts or judicial directions cannot terminate communal conflicts.

In Kandhamal, the ongoing communal conflicts are conflicts between the indigenous culture of immemorial age and an alien culture of recent origin. The conflict has aggravated since killing of Laxmananada, as persons who oppose the alien culture suspect the alien culturists to be the culprits, notwithstanding Naxal claims that he being a religious revivalist and a stooge of local mafia they have under notice executed their death sentence on him.

Both the police and judiciary have failed to catch and punish the culprit(s) so far. The blatant inability or deliberate negligence of the law and order machinery to catch and punish the culprit(s) that killed the known antagonist of the alien culture is surely instigating the indigenous culturists to avenge the killing by taking the suspected alien culturists to task the way that suits them and how can this be stopped before the culprit(s), who killed Laxmanananda is/are punished?

Congress autocrat Sonia Gandhi, born a Christian, being the supreme boss of the central minister that holds home portfolio, the police controlled by IPS officers of central service like Praharaj may unleash state terror on indigenous culturists of illiterate Kandhamal in the name of law and suppress the conflict. But that would be mere suppression. Suppression is not extinguishments. So, even if the present communal conflict in Kandhamal will be suppressed, communal rivalry will not die.

This is the danger to our democracy that needs urgent attention.

The illiterate peoples of Kandhamal have given a golden opportunity to administration to understand this danger so that correctional measures may be evolved. But it seems the failed political leadership both in the state and the center, concerned only with their careers and tenures, are not interested in India’s future and hence, they want to manage the instant scenario with the muscles of the police force.

More baffling than this is the intelligentsia’s total failure to study the real cause of communal conflicts.

As stressed supra, existence of rival religions flares up communal rivalry. If peoples are not addicted to religions, wherefrom communal passion would surge and communal conflicts emerge?

Why should peoples be addicted to religion? As I have told earlier in these pages, despite brain and virtues, human beings by birth suffer from a sense of insecurity to overcome which they form their society or nation and cherish societal or national solidarity. Nationality is the collective formation of the peoples of a geographic unit to ensure economic stability. Economic stability of all of the society is ensured by elimination of all process or factors of exploitation. The state that eliminates exploitation and ensures economic stability is epitomized in terms of unreserved allegiance of its peoples. This allegiance is termed as political nationality. When anti-people programs of the state shatter economic stability of the peoples, political nationality dwindles and the peoples in search of collective identity to overcome inherent sense of insecurity build up or revive their cultural solidarity, which is expressed in the name of religion. So religion is a pervert expression of peoples’ anxiety to have a collective identity in order to overcome their inherent sense of insecurity or in reality the fear of economic insecurity and therefore, all the religions are pervert socio-economic formulations. Every pervert formulation is susceptible to control by schemers. So the schemers, who use the strength of solidarity amongst peoples under their control for factually their own economic benefit in the guise of the peoples’ economic stability, patronize and control every religion. This being the position, different religions compete with each other to expand their support base so that economic empires of their respective patrons would expand. In Kandhamal, political nationality having dwindled due to continuous state support to economic exploiters, the religious nationality has raised its ugly head as the substitute and in the specific circumstances, competition is going on between the Hindu and Christian schemers to keep the area under their grip. Hindu schemers are known saffronists who work for business community of India when Christian schemers having their fountainhead in foreign lands are suspected shadow workers of imperialism.

If economic exploitation of our peoples will stop, both these religious schemers shall have no impact on the minds of our peoples and political nationality will revive to extinguish communal conflicts.

Politicians will fail to bring out this as they have en mass lost their credibility. The new DGP can play a positive role if he directs his police force to eliminate economic exploitation of the peoples. It is well known and he can, if he wants, see that all the welfare programs are being derailed as traders, contractors and bureaucrats hand-in-glove with unscrupulous politicians are looting the allotted funds. He as the police chief can intervene and arrest these scoundrels without delay. He can take stringent punitive action against caste supremacists in Hindu religion to stop socio-economic exploitation and this will stop exodus of people from Hindu religion to Christian religion. He can investigate and find out the time and cause of conversion of Hindu members to Christianity and under the anti-conversion Act in force can start stringent action against the Christian conversionists while moving for legal nullification of the so-called conversions so that the unholy competition between communalists of both the Hindu and Christian sectors would stop.

Laws of the land have given him enough power to take these steps. If he fails to do this and in stead, takes steps against peoples who emotionally join either sector in search of collective security in view of administration’s blatant failure in preserving political nationality that a real welfare state could only have given, he will fail and be seen as fallen in the trap of a confused concept.

SCOUNDRELS

Subhas Chandra Pattanayak

Our intelligentsia is our asset. But there are scoundrels in our intelligentsia who support the foreign firm POSCO and oppose our people.

One need not be astonished. These types of people were also playing hosts to invaders in the past. Without people of these types East India Company could not have occupied India; Keshari kings could not have annihilated Buddhist Siddhacharyas and destroyed Bauddha Stupas of Orissa; Choda Ganga could not have captured Orissa and could not have dared to transform Sri Jagannatha from Buddha to Vishnu.

Time has changed from era to era. Power has changed hands. But scoundrels have never changed.

The syndrome called self-seeking motive

Scoundrels are scoundrels. Notwithstanding change in notions of time, notwithstanding change in pattern of education, notwithstanding change of people in power, there has never come a change in self-seeking motive and modus operandi of scoundrels.

Even in the modern world where class is determined by political economy they continue as a class beyond the realm of political economies! They are neither active nor passive participants in implementation of any of them; but in confusion, they prefer to brag like political cocks.

If their roles could be compressed into a single word, that word would be opportunism.

Opportunism

Opportunism is neither capitalism nor communism. It is a synonym of the habit of its practitioner to support whosoever has massive money notwithstanding non-existence of any chance of percolation of any of that money to the said practitioner.

Therefore opportunism is a method practiced by self-seekers, lacking in self-confidence and sense of security, to bask under an imagined elitism that perhaps psychologically stills their inherent sense of insecurity.

Cocooned

Born in an environment where their childhood was not secured, despite education acquired by consuming up state exchequer, they remain so cocooned in their phobia about poverty, that wherever they smell money, they rush in support of that, even though that goes against the interest of people, who, while perishing in poverty, had contributed their might to the exchequer on which their education was dependent.

Let scholars in psychology term them as they like, but we can, for the purpose of this write-up, call them opportunists.

Genuine citizenry against POSCO

Barring the people of this type, every genuine and responsible citizen has condemned the way Orissa government has been torturing our people to promote POSCO.

An instance of savagery

An instance of savagery of POSCO supporters has come on records with former Judge of Orissa High Court, Justice Choudhury Pratap Mishra narrating on December 10 how a sitting-in dharana by the affected people against the threat to their self-employed status was shattered as participants were severely injured at Dhinkia by bombs thrown at them from behind their back.

This is well on records that the people were there to express common grief over sequestration of their land by their own State government in order to satisfy the foreign firm.

A combine of State Police and POSCO goons threw bombs at the peaceful congregation from behind and severely injured many of the participants. The people could not even know that the deadly bombs were being thrown at them.

This brutality was meant to scare into silence the sons of our soil who have been peacefully raising their collective voice against their land being given away to the foreign firm.

Gandhian obtains impartial report

Responding to a request from a revered follower of Gandhiji, Smt. Annapurna Maharana, Justice Mishra had led a ten-member spot-study team of apolitical stalwarts of Orissa to the Balitutha area of Jagasinghpur where farmers are helplessly seeking protection of their traditional source of livelihood, their soil, from the pernicious avarice and grip of the foreign firm POSCO.

The team visited nerve centers of the area like Balitutha, Nuagan, Govindpur and Dhinkia and found that the Government is compelling farmers through its police to hand over their lands to the POSCO.

Spot study by Justice Mishra

On spot study it was found that the State police is terrorizing the people, not only by brute power, but also by instituting false cases.

The people of Balitutha area, the people of Gada Kujanga, Nuagan and Govindpur, are perishing under fear of police action even as the inhabitants of Dhinkia are shrinking under repression perpetrated by the state police and hired goons donning pro-POSCO attires under banners of the ruling party and colors of development.

Navin guilty of dividing people in POSCO interest

Naveen Patnaik’s contribution to Orissa’s development is not discernible. But very much discernible is the divide he has created amongst people of Orissa to provide POSCO with the muscles that it needs to grab our land.

It is sad that a part of Orissa’s intelligentsia is displaying pride in placing itself at the POSCO side of this divide.

Nothing better is expected of the scoundrels.