RPF must have to return the Cassette; prompt punishment to Inspector must be a must

Subhas Chandra Pattanayak

RPF authorities have suspended their Bhubaneswar Inspector Sanjay Kumar Swain, who deserves to be prosecuted for hooliganism and attempt to murder, besides dismissal.

After the suspension order was issued on the spot last evening, people have allowed trains to move with effect from 9 PM. But, now, the department must move to dismiss him with retrospective effect.

Puri-Durg Express train, which was to reach Bhubaneswar at 6.40 PM on June 28, reached on 29th at 10 AM almost 16 hours behind the schedule. As is railway’s wont, the passengers were fed with announcement of short duration delay throughout the entire period, as a result of which, leaving the platform for refreshment was not even possible for them. It had ignited acrid protests and being informed of this, media had reached the Station to cover the matter.

When Kanak TV crew was recording police misbehavior to railway passengers that were expressing their natural discontentment over the harassment they were subjected to, Inspector Swain was found leading a rowdy pack of railway police in intimidating and attacking the victims of railway irresponsibility.

He was even misbehaving with the lady protesters and was found pulling their cloths, oblivious of where his unruly hands were touching their bodies. All on a sudden he marked that his ugly manners were captured in Kanak TV camera.

He rushed to the cameraman like a mad dog, thrashed the cameraman and snatched away the cassette from the camera, causing severe damage to it in front of him and the reporter. As they protested, he asked his accompanying pack of RPF Jawans to drag them to their PS. In addition to the two, the RPF dragged 10 passengers to the police station, where the two TV journalists were mercilessly beaten up.

Bhubaneswar scribes and general public rushed to the railway station seeking their immediate release. As Swain refused to respond, public resentment metamorphosed into track blockade, forcing cancellation of trains such as Chhatrapur-Bhubaneswar, Dibrugad-Chenai, Bhubaneswar-Palasa, Bhubaneswar-Jagdalpur etc.

Rowdiest conduct of Swain continued to aggravate the situation and the major Station drowned in total chaos. RPF authorities had to put the hooligan Inspector under suspension with immediate effect.

Chief of Eastern Media Ltd that owns Kanak TV, Sri Soumy Ranjan Patnaik has demanded for return of the video cassette taken away by Swain.

To us, not only the cassette must have to be returned, but also the damaged camera must have to be replaced with a new camera of its original make.

But, should the matter end here?

We advise the administration to review if a hooligan like Swain should continue in suspended animation even.

We strongly suggest, he should be subjected to prompt investigation to find out what other punishment should be given to him over and above dismissal from service.

His offenses are witnessed by the authorities before putting him under suspension. No other mode of prosecution is necessary. The only necessity is punishing him with dismissal as his hooliganism calls for his ejection from police service. What other punishment he deserves should be determined by way of further action, so that other goons in uniform should learn how to stay orderly.

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Do Maoists Obstruct Development? No, say Participants in Kanak TV Debate

Do the Maoists obstruct development? Kanak TV raised this question on its open discussion board in the IDCOL Auditorium at Bhubaneswar on May 8.

The debate was coordinated by its founder, Sri Soumya Ranjan Patnaik.

“No” was the answer by deduction, as those who denigrated the Maoists also confessed that lack of development is the root cause of Maoist evolvement.

The ‘Yes’ side comprised Orissa’s finance minister Prafulla Ghadai, Opposition Chief Whip in Orissa Assembly Prasad Harichandan and former Director General of Police in the State, Gopal Nanda.

The ‘No’ side comprised CPI leader Prof. Abani Baral, Human Rights Activist, Advocate Biswapriya Kanungo and wife of Maoist leader Sabyasachi Panda, Smt. Mili Panda.

Smt. Panda, who is recently released from illegal incarceration, rejected the suggestion sic passim in the subject of the debate itself that development in undeveloped areas is being hindered by the Maoists. The Maoists are the active voices of the people that are victims of government apathy and negligence. Maoists oppose misappropriation of development funds and hijacking of lands and natural resources by private companies. They are emancipation activists who have been making immeasurable sacrifices to serve the cause of the wretchedly poor, said Smt. Panda. How can those, who for the rights of the voiceless majority, have left the comforts of their homes and company of their families and roam over dangerous terrains daring false encounters, cooked up prosecution and rich media’s negative publicity, go against development of the people?she asked. She presented many instances of how people perish in villages sans health care, education facilities, home to live in, food to eat and water to drink. Those, who measure democracy in the yardstick of constituencies captured, cannot measure how pathetically people live, as plans and funds meant for their development get looted in transit by politico-bureaucratic-capitalist nexus. Those that oppose this looting are being branded as Maoists, she said.

Biswapriya Kanungo pointed out that the government has banned six socio-political forums in 2006 branding them as Maoist outfits. Why are they not coming forward with details of benefits they have achieved by the ban? he asked. If the government fails to give a benevolent rule, people will certainly go against the government. If, instead of correcting the wrongs it commits, the government unleashes state terror on people for going against the government that fails to give a benevolent rule, people will retaliate. Such retaliation should not be termed as obstruction to development, he said.

Prof. Baral observed that if the money the government is spending on hounding out Maoists by the police, could have been spent on real development of the people, Maoist activities could have been fizzled out in areas like Malkangiri. People have lost their entity in the priority list of the government, which has become a prisoner of mania for mining based industries. It is wrong to assume that with spread of mining based industries poverty shall be eradicated. The areas from where these industries are acquiring their fodders are getting economically ruined day by day, he said.

Finance Minister Gadai, who, could never have gone against the government’s policy and hence could not have said anything but “yes” in answer to the question under discussion, said that the Maoists are opposing the industries though industries mean development. Value addition to raw materials should help the State fetch more funds which would facilitate more investment in development programs, which the Maoists do not understand, he said.

The former police chief was expected to say “yes” to the question under debate; because anything than “yes” could have virtually been the same as disapproval of his own action against the Maoists during his regime as DGP. So, he painted the Maoists as cancer for eradication of which surgery, medicine and care at the same time are required. Yet, he confessed that the government’s wrong economic policies are responsible for evolvement of Maoist movement, particularly in tribal areas where industries are eating away the forests and depriving the tribals of their living environment. With shrinkage of forest areas and spread of mining in hills, their natural sources of livelihood have been severely tampered with and, for sustenance, they are being forced to mortgage whatever little lands have they and in the debt traps laid by moneylenders, they are losing their lands and thus in ruins without any remedy, they are in utter frustration. Maoists are exploiting the situation, he said.

The Opposition Chief Whip, belongs as he to the Congress, which has a Prime Minister to whom Maoists are left viruses, was supposed to say “yes, the Maoists are obstructing development.” And he said this. But, he also said, since 1960, the Maoists have been gaining ground because of the unending financial straits the majority of people are thrown into. Unbearable poverty on the one side vis-a-vis accumulation of plenty in few hands in the other side has given birth to Maoists movement, which can be controlled if priority of administration is addressed in right earnest to people’s development, said Sri Harichandan.

So, by deduction, the ‘yes’ side also said that the Maoists are not the obstruction to development, when all of the debaters except the finance minister were sure that the government’s wrong economic policies and lackadaisical approach to development has caused Maoist evolvement.

Orissa is far from achieving Millennium Development Goals, finds Sambad Survey

Subhas Chandra Pattanayak

Orissa’s most circulated daily Sambad and its subsidiary Kanak TV celebrated their birthday on October 4 in a different manner this year by holding a debate for and against a public opinion that Orissa has failed in achieving Development Goals featured as Millennium Development Goals (MDG) that the UN summit participated by 189 member States had fixed up in 2000 to be achieved by 2015.

The summit’s declaration had consolidated a set of eight interconnected development goals into a global agenda with time-bound targets and quantifiable indicators while outlining a consensus road-map on how to proceed, with a strong focus on human rights, good governance and democracy.

They were based on (1) eradication of extreme poverty and hunger, (2) achieving Universal Primary Education, (3) Gender equality and empowerment of women, (4) Child death, (5) Mothers health, (6) HIV/AIDS, Malaria and other diseases, (7) Environmental sustainability and (8) Global partnership for development.

The UN-MDG Campaign Unit had commissioned Sambad to support the campaign by conducting a sample survey across all the 314 blocks of Orissa. Despite discernible defects in statistics, Sambad has summed up the survey goal wise in a published report that the Panchayatiraj Minister Prafulla Samal formally released before commencement of the debate.

On Goal No.1, the survey says that significant levels of poverty are still prevalent. There is more number of exclusions than inclusions in different social security schemes. No proper monitoring. It recommends that instead of populist subsidized rice scheme, direct cash compensation and greater resource to Panchayats should be ensured with revamping of public distribution system and better monitoring. Generation of awareness about the development schemed amongst targeted beneficiaries is recommended for meaningful march towards this goal.

On Goal No. 2, the survey regrets that despite significant progress in enrolment a great disparity exists across gender, geography and communities. Remedy lies in implementation of Right to Education Act, the survey has recommended.

On Goal No. 3, the survey finds that despite programs like Mission Shakti and reservation for women in Panchayat bodies, female infanticide, domestic violence and maternal mortality alarmingly continue. These need to be aggressively addressed specially designed instruments with time bound results, it has stressed.

On Goal No. 4, its finding is that the infant mortality rate prevalent in Orissa is higher than the national level. It has stressed upon more effective implementation of schemes like ICDS and better monitoring of nutrition programs for children and pregnant women.

On Goal No. 5, the survey finds serious lacuna in implementation of flagship programs like the National Rural Health Mission under which schemes like Janani Suraksha Yojana is designed to address the maternal health and mortality issue. Health infrastructure in rural areas, particularly in interior tribal pockets, need urgent improvement on priority basis, the report has noted.

On Goal No. 6, the survey has determined the situation to be alarming. As the authorities have failed to raise awareness level, steps need be taken in this regard in missionary zeal, it has underlined.

On Goal No. 7, the survey is limited to water supply, sanitation, fuel use and housing. When the water supply situation seems slightly better, in case of the rest three items, the State has to go a long way to achieve the Goal, it has said. It has recommended for new innovative schemes and better implementation of existing schemes to save the situation from further degradation.

All in all, the score card for the state can be said to be sub-par and much remains to be done if the State was to have any chance of getting even close to the Goals set by Millennium Development Campaign, the survey has clearly said.

Release of this survey report being a part of celebration of its birthday, Sambad organized a convention of eminent intellectuals to witness the debate on the subject noted supra in context of the survey.

Prof. Abani Kumar Baral (CPI), Narasingha Mishra (Congress) and Bijoy Mohapatra (BJP) were in support of the finding that Orissa has failed in achieving Development Goals whereas Prof. Kumara Bara Das (Economics –Utkal University), Jagadanada (Information commissioner) and Pyari Mohan Mohapatra (BJD) were to oppose.

When Prof. Baral hammered on how welfare funds are being hijacked by scamsters and how number of primary schools are being tampered with to facilitate misappropriation of funds meant for mid-day meals of the students, Sri Mishra alleged that instead of forward march the state has been moving backward in developmental matters. Sri Mohapatra remarked that development of the elite cannot be read as development of the people. The three of them relied upon official documents like the CAG reports and the reports of Economic Survey to bring home their points.

Opposing the finding, Prof. Das asserted that Orissa’s backwardness is its greatest asset as it gives it the motivation to leap forward. Yet, he gave vent to his fears that the ongoing official emphasis on large industries would make the Government more unpopular. Instead of bringing in big industries, bring in industrialization and matching Orissa’s natural orientation, put premium on tourism industry than on mineral industry to ensure eradication of poverty, he advised the State.

Jagadananda, the Information Commissioner surpassed the best of public relation officers, if any, in projecting success of the government in every sphere of development.

Pyari babu failed to show how the concept that Orissa has failed in achieving the Millennium Goals is not correct; but he drowned the hall in laughter by citing Rajiv Gandhii as the authority in trying to defend his stand. He refused to give credence to CAG report that has exposed massive misappropriation of welfare funds in Orissa. Rather taking shelter under Rajiv Gandhi’s 1985 superficial and unsubstantiated observation that 85% of welfare funds were being misappropriated in Orissa, he declared that the level of misappropriation has declined.

Thus the debate was far from the subject. Speeches – for and against – were mostly peripheral. However, Soumya Ranjan Pattanayak, supremo of both Sambad and Kanak TV managed the debate remarkably.

Action Needed Against Inaction of Police: Kanak Tv Man Moves the High Court

Subhas Chandra Pattanayak

A journalist working with Kanak Tv saw a BJD stalwart of Pipili looting a valuable tree from a public place. As a conscious citizen, in due deference to duties enshrined in the Constitution, he advised the person concerned, Prabhakar Behera on the spot, not to cut down the tree. Behera intimidated and dismissed him. This gave birth to media exposure of the loot of the tree by the BJD activist.

On 9th June evening when the said Tv Journalist, Mr. Akhand was returning from his office, Behera tried to murder him at Kanthapur near Kamalasagar patna, under the Pipili Police Station. Narrowly escaping death with severe injuries, Akhand went to the P.S. and filed his complaint.

The Police, on seeing the serious injuries on his body, took instant cognizance of the grievous offense and treated it as FIR and registered P. S. Case No. 112/20120 on the same day, i.e. June 9, 2010 under Sections 307 / 389 / 506 / 294 / 341 and 323 of IPC.

But the matter has been blocked there and the Police, under ruling party pressure, is sloughing over the case.

Media Unity for Freedom of Press (MUFP) reflected the agony of the entire community of scribes of the State in its open appeal to the Home-cum-Chief Minister seeking his intervention in view of visible Police inaction.

No action is yet taken against the miscreant.

Akhand has gone to Orissa High Court seeking action against inaction of Police wherein he has named the Police Officers that have slept over the case. His petition is registered as WP-Crl-448/2010.

Now the questions are: why the Police Station is sleeping over the case even after taking cognizance of grievous offenses like attempt to murder?

Do the BJD members enjoy immunity in practicing loot and arson by stymieing the police in its action as in the matter of murderous assault on the Kanak Tv man by a hoodlum whom the ruling party patronizes?

Are the journalists expected to rush to law courts to seek protection from ruling party goons and dangers designed by the police in nexus with the goons?

If judicial activism is carrying yet any meaning, these questions may suo motu be taken up in interest of society and democracy. And the Police should be subjected to exemplary punishment for sleeping over grievous offenses like attempt to murder even after registering appropriate cases in the P.S.

Orissa under Climate of Criminality; Silicon EC Was A Mere Display Point

Subhas Chandra Pattanayak

The climate of criminality that the continuous misrule of Navin Patnaik has clamped on Orissa has culminated in bloody attack on mediapersons on duty by the mafia that has been ruling the roost in techno education sector.

One such joint of techno education, operating at Chandrasekharpur of Bhubaneswar, called Silicon Engineering College, is now marked for having hosted bloodshed in the night of April 22 in its attempt to eliminate proofs of the havoc it had played on the lives of its students.

It has a captive canteen where the staff and the students are almost forced to eat. A third year student, Samsuddin Shah, soon after taking food in this canteen succumbed to suspected food poisoning and as many as seventy other students, who had taken food in the same batch, reportedly showed symptoms of severe suffering.

This sad news spread like wildfire and around 1500 students could escape pangs of death as they, thereafter, abstained from taking that food.

But Shah’s demise and others’ reported critical condition ignited a demand for immediate action against the canteen staff and for forensic test of the food the canteen had fed the students with.

Instead of taking prompt steps in this respect, the College activated its repressive methods, which precipitated the situation.

The media rushed to the spot.

As the plight of the students was being recorded, a surprise attack was unleashed on them, the cameras and cameramen being the instant targets. The mafia was determined to obliterate the proofs captured by the cameras come what may. To what extent the operators of the joint were bloodthirsty may be seen from this picture of Rohan of Kanak TV, placed here just for example.

As Journalists all over Orissa are registering their protests against assault on mediamen, a Director of the institute and two of his associates have been apprehended and sent to the judicial custody.

How the guilty would be punished in this case depends upon probity of the police. But what is easily comprehensible is that were Orissa not been engulfed by the climate of criminality, the bloody attack on Press at the Silicon Engineering College could not have happened.

This College was just a display point of antagonism patronized against the Press.