The name Kamakshya Nagar is an insult to the great battle for freedom led by Vir Baisnav: Prof. Abani Baral

vir baisnav

CPI leader Prof. Abani Kumar Baral, in addressing the celebrations of birth centenary of Vir Baisnav Charan Pattanayak at Bhubaneswar on 29 April 2013, has demanded that Kamakshyanagar be re-named Madhi, in memory of the freedom that Pattanayak had given it in leading the people’s war against the tyrant king of the ex-state of Dhenkanal.

The legendary leader of Prajamandal movement had declared war against the king of Dhenkanal and in that war, Madhi was liberated from the pernicious control of the king. So, in the history of India’s freedom movement, Madhi has a unique place. But the shrewd tyrant had wiped out the name of this historic place by changing its name from Madhi to Kamakshyanagar by the name of his son, before abdicating his throne.
Continuance of this name is an insult to the sacred memories of Vir Baisnav as well as to the martyrs this battle had given to the motherland, he pointed out while demanding that the name of Kamakshyanagar be changed back to Madhi.

CPI(M) leader Sivaji Pattanayak, Ex-Minister Prafulla Ghadei, MLA Prafulla Malik, MLA Navin Nanda and Minister Rajanikant Singh also agreed that Kamakshyanagar should be changed to Madhi in view of its historic uniqueness. Jogesh Chandra Tripathy presided over the meeting.

Vir Baishnav: The Unseen Father of Integrated India that We live in

Subhas Chandra Pattanayak

vir baishnavOn January 01, 2013 Vir Baishnav Charan Pattanayak breathed his last. In his demise we lost the unrecognized father of integrated India that we live in. This truth is not yet highlighted in history, because he was such a revolutionary, whom independent India had incarcerated for around four years, because of his militancy that had forced the king of Nilagiri to be the first to merge his State in India and the King of Dhenkanal to follow suit. His class enemies in power and historians – mostly elite – having written the history of modern India, have deliberately not given Vir Baisnav, the Communist, his due place in history.

Vir (The Valiant) Baishnab was the militant leader of the people that forced the Kings to sign the instrument of merger. But the Government led by the Congress had thrown him into prison for around four years thereafter and despite orders of the Supreme Court of India, had not released him till he was elected to the State Assembly from behind the bars.

His militant leadership to people of princely States like Dhenkanal and Nilagiri and Athgarh is one of the reasons of the Government’s reluctance to release him, as this document depicts. Though history is yet to correct itself in this regard, it will not be incorrect to call him the Father of integrated India that we now live in.

We in ORISSAMATTERS salute this immortal leader on whose head the tyrant King of Dhenkanal had declared a cash reward of the highest amount in those days. The following is the text of that order:

Rs. 3200/- Reward
To whoever arrests BAISHNAB CHARAN PATNAIK

Descriptive roll given bellow :-

Personal Description roll of Baishnab Charan Patnaik
Son of Sadhu Charan Patnaik of Nizgarh – Dhenkanal (E.S.A.)
Caste Hindu, Oriya, Karan
Height 5 feet 8 inches
Body Medium Built
Complexion Black
Whether vaccinated ? Vaccinated on both hands
Face Long
Hair Black
Age 26 years
Colour of the eye balls Black.

General description of his body and habits etc.

He has a black mark on the right chest, ordinarily wears Khaddar and indulges in appearing in verious disguise, such as woman, cow-herd with indigenous hat (Jhampi) made of split bamboo and palm leaf on his head or Kendra Jogi (i.e. a professional begger with a kind of harp in hand), when talks to a man does not look straight but look down or side ways, while talking nods his head side ways. One of his friends reports that he has got a black mark under the right calf and has recently one gun shot wound on his left arm between elbow and wrist . When he wants to speak any thing emphatically he strikes his right fist on open palm of the left.

Sd/- Md.Bassir
A.C.Police
Dhenkanal State
Dt. 18.9.42

The Congress Government that had, in Orissa, incarcerated most arbitrarily for four years this valiant emancipator of the subjects of the Kings after independence, had, in all over India, been with the Kings supporting them with Privileges and Privy Purse, squandering away the exchequer for the wrong purpose. As a member of the Loksabha, it was Vir Baishnav again, who made a scathing attack on the Government over the issue and made a strong demand for abolition thereof.

“Privy Purses must go if we take our independence, democracy and socialism seriously” roared he, while speaking on the demands for grants for the Ministry of Home Affairs in the Budget Session of 1965.

“The Budget provides for Rs. 508.81 lakhs as Privy Purse to the former rulers. I know that the only argument that the Government, as well as the beneficiaries of the Privy Purses make, is one of the promises made and the agreement signed with them and nothing more. But it is also a fact that the Government and the Parliament are bound by the solemn pledge to the 45 crores of the Indian people, to work for and usher in a socialist society in the country. The simple issue is: will the government permit the pledge, given to the millions of people in India be broken in the name of keeping a promise of very doubtful validity to the former rulers. The Privy Purse is an outrage in a free democracy and totally inconsistent with the aim of socialism”,

he had said.

In justifying his demands for abolition of Privy Purses, he had said,

“Let me start from Orissa, not only because I come from Orissa, but because it is full of former rulers, most of whom are openly against our national aim of socialism and so have organized themselves into a powerful political party. The Maharaja of Kalahandi, Sri P.K.Deo, a Swatantra leader and a member of this House gets Rs.1,14,000/- per year, which is more than four times the yearly salary of the Prime Minister of India. The Maharaja of Patna, Sri R.N.Singhdeo, another Swatantra stalwart, who is also the leader of Opposition in Orissa State Assembly, gets Rs.2,49,600/- per year, which is more than 9 times the yearly salary of the Prime Minister of India. Indian Prime Minister gets about Rs.2000/- per month, but the Swatantra Maharani Gayatri Devi’s Maharaja of Jaipur gets Rs. 5000/- per day or Rs. 1,50,000/- per month, or Rs. 18 lakhs per year, which is more than 70 times the yearly salary of the Prime Minister of India. The ex-ruler of Hyderabad gets Rs.50 lakhs from the central government and Rs.25 lakhs from the Andhra government, which comes to about 280 or 300 times more than the yearly salary of the Prime Minister of India. There are about 20 ex-rulers each of whom gets Rs.10 lakhs or more per year.There are hundreds and hundreds of ex-rulers to whom we are to give lakhs and lakhs of rupees as Privy Purse, and they are all tax free.

When one thinks of the average daily income of the common citizens of our country and the tax free daily Privy Purse income of the ex-rulers, as for example, the Swatantrite Maharani Gayatri Devi’s Maharaja’s Privy Purse income of Rs.5000/- per day, and the wide disparity in income, the question of Privy Purse becomes indefensible”.

Setting the history straight he had said,

“It is argued that the Rajas gave away their power voluntarily, and Privy Purses are the recompense from a grateful nation. This is a travesty of Indian history, and of recent history which is within living memory.

It is not a true fact that the rulers surrendered their powers voluntarily. There were powerful Prajamandal movements in most of the States, as integral parts of the Indian national movements in most of the States, long before the British quit India. After the British left, the Prajamandal movements everywhere literally became popular mass upsurges and acquired tidal strength, which nothing could hold back, neither police lathi charge nor the military bullets. If the rulers had not surrendered, then they would have been swept aside. They had no courage to face their own people. Almost all of them came rushing to New Delhi to seek shelter, plead for peace and bargain terms. This is where the Privy Purse comes in.

The Orissa State people’s movement was all powerful then. It was the bitterest in India. In fact, the Whitepaper on Indian States gives our movement the credit for starting the merger of States from Orissa. We, the ex-State people of Orissa are proud of it. I can say from my personal experience that there is no greater myth current in Indian political life than that the rulers gave away power voluntarily”.

And on many other grounds over and above this, he had called upon abolition of the Privy Purses.

After half a decade, in 1971, Privy Purses and Privileges were abolished when Prime Minister Indira Gandhi had to depend on the Communists.

So, the father of integrated India, Vir Baishnav, the valiant, completed his mission of freeing the people of the parasite tyrants by forcing the Kings out of their thrones and by creating for the Government of India the environment to abolish the privileges and the Privy Purses of ex-rulers.

We bow again and again to the great patriot, who, despite death, shall stay immortal for ever, for ever.

The Art and Craft of Cartoon in Odisha

By Dr. Mrinal Chatterjee

A cartoon is any of several forms of illustrations with varied meanings that evolved from its original meaning. In modern print media, a cartoon is a piece of art, usually humorous in intent . This usage dates from 1843 when Punch magazine applied the term to satirical drawings in its pages, particularly sketches by John Leech.

Odisha has had a long history of caricature. Humour and satire occupy an important place in Odia literature. But unfortunately, there is no documental evidence as to when cartoons first appeared in media in Odisha. It appeared that Niankhunta (Editor: Godavarish Mohapatra, 1898-1965), a satirical magazine in the line of Shankar’s Weekly first started to publish cartoons regularly. Niankhunta (The Firefling) was first published in 1938 and continued till 1964. After decades, it again started publishing from 2009 with almost the same content mix- including political and social cartoons. Samaja and Prajatantra also used to publish political cartoons occasionally in 1950s. Omkar Nath Panigrahi of Bolangir used to draw fine cartoons in 1940s.

Faturananda (Ramchandra Mishra, 1915-1995) the well-known satirist was a fine cartoonist too. He used to draw cartoons in his college magazine, when he was a student of the Medical College in Cuttack. These cartoons were published in the name of R.C.Mishra. Later he drew cartoons for his literary magazine Dagara. His cartoons were published in National Front and other newspapers. He continued to draw cartoons till his eyesight failed.

Dibakar Mishra of Talcher (founder of daily Khabar) used to draw cartoons in the Samaja in 70s and 80s. He used a penname: DKM. Satirical magazines like Niankhunta and Durmukha used to print several cartoons. In fact socio-political cartoons with highly satirical content were its major attraction. Niankhunta ceased publication long back. Durmukha continues to publish and cartoons are still its major attraction.

Though Odisha has had a long history and tradition of caricature, and cartoons have been used in newspapers and periodicals, yet cartoonists have never got the kind of opportunity to work and credit and acclaim they deserve. It is only after 1980s that cartoonists got recognition. Some of them became household names. There is a practical reason for this. Offset printing came to Odisha only in mid-80s. Before that metal blocks had to be made to print any kind of visuals. It was expensive and time taking. Hence visuals were avoided unless it was absolutely necessary. Cartoonists did not have much opportunity to get published. After the introduction of off set printing system printing visuals- both photographs and graphics (halftone and line) became easier. It required little extra cost to print ‘halftone’ photographs and no extra cost to print ‘line’ graphics. Newspapers started printing cartoons in greater number. Sambad was one of the first mainstream Odia newspapers to have introduced daily pocket cartoon. It was also one of first daily Odia newspaper to have appointed a cartoonist as its regular staff, a trend promptly followed by other major newspapers. It was in late 80s and early 90s that a bunch of young and talented cartoonists like Sudhansu Deo, Gyan Rath, Kishore Rath, Shilpi Ashok and Kesu Das emerged in the media world of Odisha. Almost all newspapers carried stand alone and daily pocket cartoons. Kishore’s daily pocket cartoon ‘Katakha’ published in Sambad became very popular. The craze for cartoons waned a bit in the next decade. One of the reasons for that could be that newspapers preferred to print photographs instead of cartoons.

It could be said that cartooning in Odisha came of age in 80s. As Sudhansu Deo, a leading cartoonist of 80s said, “Earlier there used to be mostly illustrations with exaggerated features of known figures to evoke laughter”. The emphasis was more on illustration than on the theme. It was only after the 80s that cartooning was regarded as a separate art form in Odisha.

Late 80s and 90s saw some young cartoonists maturing into excellent artists. However, the new millennium saw a decline in the quantity and quality of cartoons in mainstream print media in Odisha. This phenomenon is not exclusive to Odisha. It has been witnessed in other states too. Priya Pande writes about this : … There is also the aspect of changing habits of readers. In the earlier days, papers used to be crammed with news matter particularly on the front page, with the pocket cartoon providing the only visual relief. Today, not only has colour entered the front pages, the pictorial presentation and design gimmicks have completely edged the cartoon out to total insignificance. However, recent years have seen resurgence in cartooning, especially in new media platform.

Contemporary Cartoonists of Odisha:

Sudhansu Deo is probably the first regularly appointed cartoonist in Odia media. Before joining Sambad in 1984 he worked briefly in Prajatantra and then Samaja. He drew excellent pocket cartoons. In fact he was the first cartoonist in Odisha to draw pocket cartoons regularly. He also drew stand alone cartoons on burning issues of the time. He had a lyrical style of drawing like R.K.Laxman. Very soon, Deo became a household name. In late 1988 he left Sambad and went to Delhi and worked for several English newspapers and audio visual media. He also worked as an animation cartoonist for a Doordarshan cartoon serial project. He returned to Odisha and joined Khabar in 2007. He left Khabar in end 2009 to start an animation school. Presently he works as the principal of JBC Academy of Art and Animation.

Kishore Rath, (born 1963), is a very talented cartoonist. He is working in Sambad since late 80s. A graduate in fine arts from Khalikote Art College, Kishore has set the trend of writing short rhyming verse with pocket cartoon. Kishore has his own unique style of drawing and a sharp sense of humour. A talented satirist, he also composes humourous poems.

Shilpi Ashok (born 1958) has been drawing cartoons for the last twenty years. He used to work in Prajatantra. Since 2005 he has been drawing cartoons in the Samaja. He publishes a cartoon magazine titled Silpi Ashokanka Cartoon Saptahiki. He has also published a compilation of cartoons of noted litterateurs of Odisha, titled Lekhaka Lati.

Balasore based Kesu Das (born 1965) did his graduation in fine art from Khalikote Government Art College and masters from Mahatma Gandhi Kashi Vidyapitha, Benaras. He draws cartoons for newspapers and periodicals like Sambad, Dwani Pratidhwani, Samaja, Haribol, Durmukha. He is also an acclaimed sand artist and runs his art teaching school. As an artist he has won several awards like Odisha Lalit Kala Academy award as young artist (1987) and Academy of Fine Arts, Kolkata (2000). He has published a work book on how to draw cartoons using Odia alphabets: Barnamala Saha Sahaja Cartoon Shiksha (1998). He is also actively involved in preserving the languishing folk lacquer art of Balasore, in Odisha through Baleswari Kala Kendra, of which he is the executive director.

Kamalakanta Rath drew cartoons for several mainstream newspapers and periodicals in early 90s. But gradually he shifted his focus to social issues. He is now active in drawing cartoons and illustrations in development magazines in alternate media domain.

Chudamani Das, from Balasore began to draw cartoons for newspapers and periodicals like Durmukha, Dhawni Pratidhawini from 2000 after he completed his fine arts degree from Bhadrak Art College. He joined daily Prajatantra in 2003.

Aswini Kumar Rath and Abani Kumar Rath are brothers who work together. In fact they call themselves ‘the only cartoonist brother duo in the world’. Aswini has a PhD in botany. He is working as a Lecturer in Botany in Bolangir. Abani did his M.Sc in Chemistry. He is working as an officer in insurance sector. Their first cartoon was published in 1989. Since then their cartoons have been published in several local, national and international newspapers, periodicals and web sites. They have won many awards and honours. Their cartoons have been exhibited in the prestigious ‘First International Saloon of Graphic Humor-Lima-2008, Peru’, and won Honourable Mention prize in the 15th, 16th and 17th ‘Daejeon International Cartoon Contest in Seoul, Korea in 2006, 2007 and 2008 and Special Mention prize in the ‘2nd Free Cartoons Web International Cartoonist Festival’, China, 2003.

Paresh Nath (born 1970) did his masters in English literature from Ravenshaw College, Cuttack. He had a knack for drawing and illustration from his school days. His cartoons and illustrations were being published in newspapers during his college days. He started his professional career as a cartoonist with Samaja. Later, he worked as a freelance cartoonist for The Indian Express, Delhi before joining National Herald in early 1990s as the Chief Cartoonist. Currently, Paresh Nath’s works are reproduced in publications like Bombay Samachar , the oldest Asian daily published from Mumbai, newsletters of United Nations Fund for Population Activities (UNFPA), CO-OP HORIZON- a fortnightly periodical by National Co-Op Union of India, Neighbourhood Flash – published from Delhi in five different editions covering urban, metropolitan and political issues and UT Independent – a political publication from Delhi and other union territories. His funny, incisively wise, informative and never malicious cartoon pieces have touched millions of readers and have been reproduced in various newspapers and periodicals such as Financial Express, India Today, Illustrated Weekly of India, The SunZero Hour, Samayukta Karnataka, The Eastern Times, etc. He has also been associated to various online projects. Paresh has earned worldwide recognition for his work as the winner of the United Nations Correspondents Association Ranan Lurie Political Cartoon Award for the year 2000 in cartoon competition. He was invited to participate in the contest among the professional political cartoonists throughout the world. He has also won the Youth Federation Award and Delhi Sahitya Kala Parishad Award in 1987 and 1991 respectively for his cartoons. He is a member of the panel of jurors for international poster contest of UNFPA in year 1992 and 2000. He is also an empanelled cartoonist of DAVP of information & Broadcasting Ministry, Government of India. Besides drawing cartoons, he writes humour columns. He is also planning to write books on yoga and mysticism in near future.

Bijayananda Biswal is not a professional cartoonist. He works as an executive in Indian Railways. Drawing cartoons is a hobby for him. However, he has won several cartoon competition including an international competition organized in November 2009 by Bangalore based Cartoon Academy.

Bichitrananda Swain (born 1987), a trained journalist is a self taught cartoonist. Besides drawing cartoons in the Odia daily Suryaprava he draws illustrations for books.

Soumyadev along with Sarashi and Santosh started a cartoonist’s group: AaltuFaltu in around 2005. They started drawing and exhibiting cartoons on political and social issues. Their cartoons appear regularly in Samadrusti from 2006.

The author is a journalist turned media academician, who presently heads the Dhenkanal campus of Indian Institute of Mass Communication (IIMC) in Odisha.

This article forms a part of his forthcoming book: ‘History of Journalism in Odisha’. He is available at:
http://www.mrinalchatterjee.in | mrinaliimc@yahoo.in

MUFP CONDEMNED BHUSAN STEEL FOR THREATENING MEDIA PERSONS : FACT FINDING TEAM TO VISIT SPOT SOON


In a protest meeting held on Tuesday, 14 February 2012, the Media Unity for Freedom of Press ( MUFP ) has strongly condemned the move by Bhushan Steel Ltd, to implicate two Dhenkanal journalists in a case they have chosen to file against their striking workers. The company in its FIR has not only named Sri
Pradeep Senapati ( ETV ) and Sri Jayant Nath ( The Sambad ) who had gone to cover the workers’ strike as co-accused but also has mentioned them as media persons ! The MUFP has described this as a nasty and frontal attack on press freedom designed to terrorize and silence the media which has played a major role in exposing Bhushan’s blatant violations of environmental laws,exploitation of the local people as well as its miserable safety standards that have caused the death of over a hundred workers.

The MUFP has asked Bhushan Steel to withdraw the case filed against the two media persons with immediate effect failing which media persons across the state will be forced to launch a state-wide agitation. It also questioned the role of local police who had no qualms accepting the FIR that named two media persons in the list of accused.

While expressing solidarity with Sri Senapati and Sri Nath, the MUFP has warned private investors in the state against such black practices.

The MUFP has decided to send a 3-member delegation to Dhenkanal on a
fact-finding mission. The Committee will talk to all parties involved including the district administration and its final report will be submitted to the Governor of Odisha, the Speaker of the State Assembly, the Chief Minister, the Leader of Opposition as well as all MLAs during the budget session.

At the protest meeting which was attended by a large media delegation from Dhenkanal , Sri Pradeep Senapati of ETV and Sri Jayant Nath of the Sambad narrated their bitter experiences with the Bhushan Steel Ltd and the Dhenkanal police. Senior journalists and MUFP Presidium members Sri Prasanta Patnaik and Sri Rabi Das came down heavily on the steel company for their audacious attempt to implicate and harass journalists who refuse to sign along dotted lines. They also condemned the district administration for their alleged complicity in the matter and its failure to protect the rights and dignity of media persons engaged in their professional duty.

POLICE IMPLICATES MEDIA PERSONS IN FALSE CASES TO PLEASE BHUSAN STEEL: MUFP

Media Unity for freedom of Press (MUFP) is worried over Orissa Police implicating working journalists in false cases to please the management of Bhusan steel Plant at Dhenkanal. The design is aimed at intimidating the Press in order to drive media away from highlighting the unfair labor practices of the industry that affects the workers as well as the harm it causes to living environment of the people.

We place below the MUFP statement:

The attacks on media persons in Odisha is now on the rise. The latest
example of a sinister attack against media professionals by the unholy
nexus between the industrial investors and administration is from Dhenkanal where Bhushan Steel Ltd, infamous for its unethical practices and extremely poor track record in safety standards has filed an FIR naming two committed local journalists for allegedly instigating its striking workers.

Two Dhenkanal-based journalists- Sri Pradeep Senapati of ETV and Sri Jayant Nath of the Sambad – who had been to the Bhushan Steel Plant on 3 February 2012 to cover a demonstration by its workers have been named as co-accused in an FIR filed by Bhushan management stating that they were among those who had instigated the workers to protest against the company.

The local police have already registered a case against them based on the Bhushan FIR and that means their arrest is only a matter of time.The local police is eager to pursue the fabricated FIR because they are hand in gloves with the company and also because they are equally perturbed by the pro-people reports filed by the two reporters in the past.

Bhushan may have reasons for its disappointment over the unwillingness of these reporters to play to their tunes in the last few years. But filing an FIR implicating them in a matter relating to workers’ agitation against the company has transgressed all limits of acceptable behavior.

The MUFP takes strong exception to such unwarranted aggression against
the media by Bhushan Steel Ltd and condemns the heinous attempt by a
private investor to muzzle and terrorise media persons. It also warns the company against any such attempts in future. Bhushan Steel Ltd must immediately delete the names of the two media persons from its false and fabricated FIR failing which the MUFP will be forced to take to agitational means across the state .

The MUFP also warns the state government against any move to protect
Bhushan Steel Ltd and its nasty attack on media persons.

MUFP will hold a protest meeting under the Freedom Tree in Bhubaneswar
at 11 am on Tuesday  (14 February 2012) if the Bhushan Steel Ltd and the state government fail to take remedial steps in the meanwhile.

For MEDIA UNITY FOR FREEDOM OF PRESS (MUFP ),
Prasanta Patnak,
Subhas Chandra Pattanayak,
Sampad Mohapatra,
Rabi Das,
D.N. Singh,
Gopal Mohaptra,
Sudhir Patnaik,
Dwijen Padhi.
Members of MUFP Presidium.

Hindol Tangle: Will the Truth Really Prevail?

Subhas Chandra Pattanayak

Nabaghan’s alleged letter to Police Superintendent (SP) of Dhenkanal district, according to news, is carrying his signature as evaluated by the State Forensic Laboratory. In this letter, he is alleged to have alleged that there was threat to his life from his area MLA Ms. Anjali Behera, rewarded by Chief Minister with elevation to the cabinet rank from Minister of State.

This evaluation of the Forensic Lab has ignited a new demand for immediate dismissal of Ms. Behera from the Council of Ministers and her arrest and prosecution for extermination of Nabaghan, her alleged political rival and detractor in the constituency.

Even, in a panel discussion in Kamyab TV last evening, Sri Narendra Swain, a Secretary of BJD, the party of Anjali to which Nabaghan also belonged, has asserted that action would certainly be taken against the district SP as his inaction on Nabaghan’s letter culminated in his killing. Had the SP diligently acted, Nabaghan might have been saved, he has said. There is no dearth of political sophomores in BJD to vomit nonsense in public forums and therefore I am not inclined to put any premium on what the BJD secretary has unauthorizedly said in the Kamyab TV panel.

When the matter is sub judice, the BJD secretary’s assertion is absolutely irresponsible; because, it is to be determined whether or not the letter in question has any real relevance to Nabaghan’s death.

But commonsense suggests, if the rivalry between the two top BJD leaders of Hindol – Nabaghan in the chair of the Chairman of the Panchayat Samiti as against Anjali’s position as MLA – had gone into the extent of threat to life, the ruling party must have noticed the acrimony.

If Nabaghan could write this alleged letter to the SP, he must have written to his party and the party supremo several times before writing this alleged letter about the threat to his life from the party MLA-cum-Minister.

Why BJD and its supremo-cum-Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik did not take any step to solve the tangle?

Why Narendra did not utter a single word about it if such a life threatening tangle was really there?

Why the police is not exploring this angle?

Whether or not Nabaghan was murdered, as is being alleged, is a matter to be determined by the Court.

But what about talks in the grapevine that Nabaghan’s loss of life was not caused by Anjali but by an accidental hit on the zigzag hilly village road against a vehicle?

In Nabaghan’s case, if his letter to the SP seeking protection from Anjali is genuine, the BJD and its supremo Naveen Patnaik must first be held responsible for the loss of life, for having failed to solve the tangle in their own organizational platform. On the other hand, one would read from the letter that there was acute acrimony between Nabaghan and Anjali, which the local BJD workers deny.

The so-called letter of Nabaghan to the SP carries his alleged signature only, not his handwriting.

If he would sure have written this letter, it could entirely have been written by Nabaghan in his own hand.

He had neither any computer to type the alleged letter in his residence nor had he known typing in a computer.

He had not gone out of his village to type it elsewhere during the relevant time. No evidence to that effect is available.

Besides, Nabaghan had not gone to Dhenkanal to meet the SP on the alleged date.

Had he really prepared the letter elsewhere and signed the alleged letter and delivered the same to the SP, it could certainly have been in the records of the SP office. It is not on records there.

No figment of imagination can even accept that a SP refuses to receive such a letter from a Panchayat Samiti Chairman. It simply is not possible.

Everybody who knows how administration runs, knows it.

There may not be any action on any letter from a people’s representative, but a SP refusing to receive a letter from a Panchayat Samiti Chairman in person, when the same was to indicate a threat to his life, is impossible.

It is being touted that the SP was influenced by Anjali, the Minister, as a result of which he did not accept Nabaghan’s letter. If the SP had good relationship with Anjali, he had no bad relationship with Nabaghan.

On the other hand, if instead of relying on his party supremo – the Chief Minister – Nabaghan had preferred to rely upon the SP, then it is indicative of the reality that Nabaghan had reliable relationship and rapport with the SP and hence, it cannot be accepted that the SP had refused to receive the letter he had written him.

Had the SP, despite good relationship with Nabaghan, refused to accept the letter, he being a political bigwig of Hindol – holding the highest post in the Panchayat Samiti as its Chairman – was certainly equipped with the acumen to send the same to the SP by registered post with copies thereof communicated to the Director General of Police and the Home Secretary as well as the Chief Minister mentioning therein that he had to prefer the registered post as the SP refused to accept it.

Nabaghan had never done this.

So, it is clear that he had never written this letter to the SP of Dhenkanal.

On the other hand, it seems, the so-called letter to the SP has been typed on a sheet of paper where Nabaghan had put his signature earlier. This is certain, because the typing has been made to accommodate the signature.

Hence, despite Nabaghan’s signature, the alleged letter to the SP is a forged letter, no doubt.

If the SP had not received the alleged letter and the DGP or the Home Secretary or the Chief Minister was not served with a copy thereof, where from it emerged?

As it transpires, one Nabakishore Sahu – a Dhenkanal based lawyer – has supplied the alleged letter to Crime Branch after more than a week of Nabaghan’s death. Why he did it and how?

Let the CB investigate and find out the answers to these questions and let the Court do justice by searching for the answers.

Role of Nabakishore Sahu, lawyer needs be probed into

This much is relevant to recall at this stage, that, for more than a year before his death, Nabaghan was not holding any meeting of the Panchayat Samiti for which there was stalemate in implementation of various development programs. It had led the District Collector to convey a meeting of the Panchayat Samiti in his chamber at Dhenkanal. There was apprehensions that the Samiti may be superseded and therefore, Nabaghan was to seek judicial protection against possible supersession by invoking writ jurisdiction of the High Court. Nabakishore Sahu, the Dhenkanal based lawyer, who has given the alleged letter to CB, was his counsel. Therefore, it may be suspected that Nabaghan’s signature in plain paper was collected for judicial use by this lawyer, who has given the signed-on-typed-sheet alleged letter purported to be of Nabaghan to the CB, wherein the alleged threat to his life from Anjali forms the crux.

Was this lawyer having any grudge against Anjali? Perhaps yes. A close confident of Anjali for around a decade, he was eager to be reappointed as a Public Prosecutor and had pinned his hope on her. But he did not get the reappointment. He had reason to suspect that Anjali was responsible for denial of the APP post to him. It may be, he was determined to settle the score. And, perhaps, therefore, he used the signed plain paper to drag in Anjali to the murder angle by typing the so-called letter on it.

If CB investigation does not unsettle this suspicion, it would not be improper to assume that after transforming the accidental death of Nabaghan into an alleged murder, the son of Bijay Raut has been wrongfully arrested by shrewd exploitation of circumstances and confusion in the police to generate credibility for the cooked up allegation on the premises of Bijay’s good relationship with Anjali.

In this nasty game that the vested interest fellows play, if an innocent young man gets punished, it would be a sad blot on society.

Hence, these angles need urgent cogitation and exhaustive investigation and the media need be self-disciplined and far from being rash. Otherwise, the truth may not really prevail.

Prasanta Patnaik Felicitated

Brajanath Badajena Pustaka Mela, Dhenkanal felicitated senior journalist Prasanta Patnaik on 21st November, 2011.

Photo shows BJD Lok Sabha member Mohan Jena felicitating Mr Patnaik.