assembly in session // KILLER LIQUID WAS MEDICINE AVAILABLE SANS PRESCRIPTION

Subhas Chandra Pattanayak

The ones, that have survived the killer liquid, know that, they had consumed hooch in medicine bottles. The Chief Minister and his government also know that 40 persons have succumbed to hooch. That’s why the CM’s close friend A.U.Singhdeo, holding as he was the excise portfolio, had to resign from the cabinet and the excise commissioner had to hand over his charges. But, now, the Orissa Assembly in session, has been fed with the information that the killer liquid was not spurious liquor, but was medicine available in drug stores sans any prescription.

Surprisingly, a Congress member Sadhu Nepak had put the lead question.

His query was a statement seeking an answer.

In Balianta and Barang areas, he stated, people died by taking poisonous medicine and wanted to know as to what steps the government, in view of this, has taken to inspect regularly the medicine manufacturing units and medicine shops in the State.

He did not stay to attend to his question and had authorized another Congress member Anup Sai to handle it on his behalf.

The Minister replied that there is nothing like poisonous medicine. But there are drugs, with possibility of being spurious, to purchase which, no prescription is required under the Rules.

It is provided under the Drug and Cosmetic Rules, 1945, the Minister said, that, drugs placed under schedule H and X thereof must be sold under prescription and drugs not under these two schedules can be sold sans prescription. The State Government has no control over that.

The Minister further said, in these non-scheduled drugs, manufacturers may use alcohol as they deem necessary. But, in place of ethyl alcohol, which is permissible, if they use methyl alcohol, that may affect eye sight and may even lead to death. Yet, he said, the State Government cannot ban production thereof, as it is the Central Government, which alone is empowered to impose any such prohibition. He cited how in 1999 and 2000 the State Government’s ban order on one such killing agent used in non-prescription drugs was nullified by the Orissa High Court on the ground that the State had no jurisdiction to impose such a ban without permission of the Central Government.

The House went into a pandemonium over the issue, as the Leader of Opposition Bhupinder Singh came down heavily upon the CM’s politics of resignation of Ministers when he, in events like the tragedy that forms the crux of the instant question, falls in critical junctures and needs to save his skin.

But the hit of Singh’s intervention by way of supplementary question, jerked the treasury benches to their feet when what he said generated insinuations that the CM has sacrificed A.U.Singhdeo, a minister of his own camp to save his skin, while not daring to touch the Health Minister Prasanna Acharya, despite the deaths now being attributed to spurious medicine that comes under the portfolio of Health, because he belongs to the other camp headed by Pyari Mohan Mohapatra.

The pandemonium swayed away the real issue.

And, resultantly the House could not make the Minister answerable on the severest massacre of the year perpetrated by a producer of non-prescription drugs – if that’s the position pending the Judicial Commission of Inquiry – as neither the Congress nor any in the Opposition could ask, as to why the State Government had/has not sought for permission of the Central Government to ban the spurious medicine that, according to what the Minister told the House, took the toll of so many lives.

Politics, thy name is the art of hoodwinking the innocent people in a system called democracy!

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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.

DON’T MISRULE, QUIT; J.B. ASKS NAVIN

Subhas Chandra Pattanayak

Orissa’s senior most active politician and Leader of Opposition Sri Janaki Ballav Pattanaik has asked Chief Minister Navin Patnaik not to continue misrule but to quit office, as it is clear that lack of sense of responsibility on his part has pushed the peoples of Orissa into the labyrinth of current catastrophic calamity of flood coupled with chaos and confusion in relief operation, which has multiplied the misery of the victims by hundreds of times.

Echoing expert observations that failure to honor the curve rule in force in management of Hirakud Reservoir level has caused the catastrophe, J.B. alleged on September 28 that Navin is a political fluff, who doesn’t know how to safeguard peoples’ interest vis-à-vis a recalcitrant set-up of bureaucracy. As a result, a pattern of administration – incompetent and corrupt – has raised its ugly head in Orissa culminating into perishing of peoples in man-made floods like the present one.

Despite being the minister in charge, he neither has studied the Hirakud water level maintenance formulation nor has ever monitored the water management on the officially adopted matrix as a result of which there was no compulsion for the executive to put priority on the flood control cushion the dam was equipped with and eventually as more water than the permissible storage had accumulated on the reservoir rendering it practically impossible to retain any further, the area authorities were compelled to open up as many as 46 gates surging out unprecedented flow into the already swelled delta system precipitating the devastation, he alleged.

Citing the Phulapal breach on the southern embankment of river Bhargavi as an instance, J.B. alleged that when this particular embankment has not been treated with a single bucket of dressing towards its maintenance during the decade, the cause of breach on other embankments could safely be attributed to the same pattern of negligence.

The current man-made deluge is so devastative that an incompetent and misleading person like Navin may make the situation bleaker if he remains in power to mishandle the post-flood restoration works. So, he should quit, J.B. quipped.

KALINGA NAGAR MASSACRE: QUESTIONS THE CHIEF MINISTER SHIED AT

Subhas Chandra Pattanayak

It was not easy for the Opposition to make the Government understand that it was answerable to Orissa Legislative Assembly on the massacre perpetrated by the State on tribal population at Kalinga Nagar on 2nd January 2006. After almost a total collapse of scheduled businesses of the House for three consecutive days from the beginning of the 7th session, as the situation became more clamant under matching mass agitation against the crime, the Chief Minister told the Speaker on 6th of February 2006, “The Government is ready for an immediate and major discussion on the subject”. Then the Speaker invited Deputy Leader of Opposition Mr. Narasigh Mishra to move his motion for discussion.

Mishra moved the motion thus, “That the matter relating to Kalinga Nagar incident that took place on dt.2.1.2006 resulting in killing of 12 Adivasis and the situation arising out of that incident be discussed”. The motion duly moved, the Speaker called upon Mishra to start his speech. Mishra started his speech after thanking the Speaker “for conducting the House afresh after the Government ran away from this House, being afraid of facing the Opposition”. But he could not proceed initially. Back-benchers of the treasury side, till polemically thrashed to stay within limits, went on causing interruptions. Mishra attributed the interruptions to the Chief Minister in no uncertain term. Thereafter, as I watched, interruption subsided.

Mishra held the Government, specifically Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik and Chief Secretary Subas Pani responsible for the killing of 12 persons of tribal community as well as for brutalization of their bodies. “You are angry with the tribals because they were opposing your financiers. You wanted to terrorize Adivasis because you are in the pockets of industrial houses. So, to protect the interest of industrialists you wanted a message to go that you can do anything and everything. This is how he scolded the Chief minister in his fact loaded attack on the Government.

Pointing out that the “Government has taken absolutely no step to provide food to the poor and downtrodden even though almost 90% of people in the tribal area being below the poverty line”, Mishra said, “it wants to drive out the adivasis, the dalits and the rustic villagers from their home land which they have been occupying for centuries. It wants to deprive the farmers from their cultivable lands. It wants the irrigation to be diverted from agriculture to industry. It wants to enrich the rich, the industrial houses and the mine owners at the cost of the poor farmers, the tribals, the dalits as well as at the cost of the State”.

Telling that the Kalinga Nagar massacre was not sudden and unexpected, Mishra gave a detail picture of how the Government had tried time and again to terrorize the tribals through the police or pokiness. The January 2 massacre was preplanned and both the Chief Minister and the Chief Secretary had compelled the Collector and S.P. to carry out the carnage.

“I have definite information that the Chief Minister took a meeting of the officials on 24th December 2005 and there he pressurized the officers to see that Tata proceeds with construction. He asked the officers to see that the opposition by the adivasis comes to an end”, Mishra declared. He pointed out that since May 1995, the tribals have been demonstrating their resentment against handing over their land to industrialists even braving terrorism unleashed by the State. He recalled how mercilessly the police had assaulted the people who were protesting against “Bhumi Puja” on their soil by the Maharastra Seemless. The A.D.M. of the district was present there. “All the male had to rush to the jungle to hide themselves and save themselves from the police torture, so much so, while running way from the police assault, a woman gave birth to a child, but left it behind. The baby could not be carried. The baby was separated from the mother. The newly born child had to die out of starvation“, Mishra cried out indicating how 26 women including school going children were arrested to pressurize male members of their families to surrender.

Strengthened by such sort of State support, industrialists became so reckless that on 16 July 2005 many houses in Bansipur village were damaged due to blasting by Jindal. The poor villagers protested but in vain when villagers of Chandia and Gobarghat opposed construction work being carried out by the Jindal industries. On 17 October 2005, tribals as well as other marginal farmers opposed TATA’s construction work and decided to stage a demonstration rally at Bhubaneswar. A tribal leader of the area was apprehended by police at Bhubaneswar on 25 Oct.05 while participating in the rally in protest against which the tribal people “gheraoed” the Kalinga Nagar police station, the next day on 26 Oct 05. Reattempt to construct the Wall by TATA was also opposed on 22 Nov.05 by the tribals who held their grand plenum on 30 Nov.05 to oppose industries claiming rights over their own ancestral land and to resolve not to leave their home and hearth in favor of Industries. Alarmed by this collective resentment, the Chief Minister had taken the December 24 meeting, Mishra said, holding the same to be the beginning of a conspiracy to kill the tribals.

“We therefore like to know and the House has every right to know what for the meeting on 24 of December 2005 was called, what transacted in that meeting, what decision was taken in that meeting?”, said Mr. Mishra.

Then he went on giving further information. “I have information that the Chief Secretary took a meeting on 31st of Dec.05. In this meeting he asked the officers to ensure that at any cost TATA should be allowed to have his construction. If this is true, then that was the subsequent stage of conspiracy which ultimately resulted in the killing of the tribals”, he declared.

Informing the House that the Chief Secretary had “banged” the Collector as well as the S.P. of Jajpur “thereby putting pressure to help TATA going out of way”, Mishra referred to what the Collector had told the Press after the massacre. The collector had volunteered that the action taken at Kalinga Nagar on 3rd January, 2006 was “at the behest of higher-ups”. This “higher-up” may be the Chief Minister or the Chief Secretary or may be both, Mr. Mishra underlined.

He informed that both the top officers of the district had their respective mobile phones from which they had talked with unknown persons both before and after the incident. With who had they talked? He called upon the Chief Minister to reveal with whom those two top executives had talked before and after the massacre as the same could easily be ascertained from the memory cards.

Why so large numbers of armed police were deployed at Kalinga Nagar on 2nd January 2006? Under whose direction and on which ground had they gone there? Asked Mishra.

Was there any F.I.R. from TATA?

Was their any quarrel between TATA and the tribals on 2nd Jan 06?

Was there any intelligence report on possibility of any showdown between TATA and the tribals on the particular day on the basis of which so heavy a police force with accompanying magistrate, Collector and S.P had to be drafted to the spot with power to kill?

These were also amongst the questions the deputy Leader of Opposition had asked while initiating the discussion.

The Chief Minister shied at all these questions.

But why?

This question hunts even many in the BJD who do not know intricacies of applied plutocracy.

ERA OF POLITICAL KILLING COMMENCES IN ORISSA: OPPOSITION

Subhas Chandra Pattanayak

An era of political killing has commenced in Orissa under the BJD-BJP coalition government, alleged independent member Shambunath Nayak in the Orissa Legislative Assembly on 17 Feb.2006 criticizing Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik for his refusal to arrest Rajat Kumar Rai, Officer-In-Charge of Charmal Police Station even though he is the kingpin behind the ghastly murder of Harekrushna Pradhan, leader of Congress Party and Chairman of Rairakhol Panchayat Samiti of Sambalpur.

In a written reply to an adjournment motion moved by Narasinga Mishra, MLA from Loisinga and others on the subject of this murder by the local police and the alarming Law and Order situation in the State, the CM told the house that on basis of the allegation of the son of the deceased and taking intensive public stir over the issue into account, “Sub-Inspector Rajat Kumar Rai, OIC, Charmal P.S., Constable Sheshadev Pradhan, Constable Gunanidhi Behera, Constable M.R.Podha and Constable S.K.Behera have been placed under suspension and inquiry has been ordered into the incident by Revenue Divisional Commissioner, Sambalpur”.

The CM told the House that a person from Charmal P.S. area was killed by a wild bear on 14 Feb.2006. “The bear was moving near the dead body and was attacking anyone approaching the dead body”. Even though “the local forest staff, OIC of Charmal P.S., Sarapanch of Bharatpur G.P. along with around 500 villagers reached the spot to retrieve the dead body and the forest staff exploded crackers to scare away the wild bear, it did not yield results. Rather another person was injured by the bear”, the CM informed. According to him, “on 15 Feb.06 at about 7.30 A.M., OIC of Charmal P.S. with his staff and APR force accompanied by Sri Hrushikesh Pradhan, Chairman, Rairakhol Panchayat Samiti and some other villagers had been to the spot in village Vatra to retrieve the dead body. The violent bear which was hiding behind a bush suddenly attacked them. Sri Hrushikesh Pradhan fell down and the bear pounced on him. In order to save the life of Sri Pradhan and deter the violent bear from further attacks, the APR force fired 8 rounds from a .303 rifle. The bear was killed and Sri Pradhan sustained injuries. While Sri Pradhan was shifted to Rairakhol Sub-Divisioal Hospital for treatment in a police vehicle, he expired and was received dead at the Hospital”.

The Opposition refused to accept this story. The behavior of the bear narrated by the CM never tallies with reality. Bears do not keep guard on the carcasses of their victims for days and do not dare mobs and crackers. The CM is trying to escape with concocted explanations, members alleged. Even treasury bench heavyweight Pradeep Maharathi expressed doubts. Asking the CM to enlighten the House on what pattern of behavior is peculiar to a bear while attacking, to see if that matches the instant case, Maharathi said, “We political leaders are like NMR workers. The real government is controlled by bureaucrats, who want us to believe whatever is their version”.

The MLA of Rairakhol Sanatan Bisi supported the official version even as his colleagues M/s Kalpataru Das, Raghunath Mohanty, Debi Mishra of ruling BJD and Bimbadhar Kuanra of BJP stood with the CM.

Sitakanta Mohapatra of Congress wondered how the police can save the people when its armed constabulary is unable to hit the target and kills a man instead, if the statement of the CM has any iota of credibility. Mahes Sahoo pointed out that Law and Order situation has so severely deteriorated that people won’t dare to have nuptial nights without invoking police protection, but the ability of the police as depicted in Rairakhol firing would pose as a deterrent!

Jayadev Jena of Congress termed the death of Pradhan as an instance of political killing and Arun De of OGP asked the Government to stop the drama of an enquiry by its own apparatus. He demanded an enquiry by the CBI sans any dilly dally.

Reacting to the CM’s clarification that police OIC Rai is not being protected inasmuch as a case has been registered under section 302 that provides for prosecution for murder, Dr. Nrusingh Sahu of Congress said, the Government has nothing to claim credit for that. Sec.302 has been invoked on the basis of the FIR filed by the son of the deceased leader, not by the initiative of the Prosecution wing.

Castigating the government for its attempts to hush up the crime, Deputy Leader of Opposition Nrusingh Mishra had set the tone of attack on Government by rejecting an enquiry by the RDC as not dependable. It is a crime committed through the Police. The Police has executed a conspiracy to kill Sri Pradhan. It had lifted him from his residence under the guise of visiting the spot where the wild bear had killed a man and somewhere on the way had committed the cold-blooded murder. Three bullets had pierced the body of the Congress leader, one on the temple, one on torso and the other on the buttock, but there was no trace of piercing in the shirt he had worn. It clearly indicates that Sri Pradhan was denuded of his dresses before being shot at, Mishra, who had visited the bereaved family immediately after the news had shaken up Bhubaneswar, said. The bear episode is being used as a ploy to hoodwink the public, he emphasized. Why the Police killed him and/or at whose behest the Police killed him must be found out and for this, RDC is not adequate. He has no experience or expertise in crime investigation. An enquiry by the CBI is the only way to deal with the matter, he had stressed. Even, ruling party member Sanatan Bisi had opined that the suspended Police officer should have been arrested before absconding.

But it had no impact on the CM. Nobody can be arrested before guilt is established, he said, sticking to his decision for an administrative enquiry by the RDC.

People have manifested their irk by burning down the Charmal Police Station and demonstrating their protests in the largest congregation of general public ever having expressed their collective condemnation of Government in the usually peaceful forest land: Rairakhol.

But watching the Government at Bhubaneswar one is inclined to feel that the people at the helm of affairs have no efficiency in reading the writings on the wall.

KALINGA NAGAR MASSACRE: CM FIDGETS IN THE HOUSE

Subhas Chandra Pattanayak

Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik took so many days. But he could not convince the Opposition that he is not guilty.

Trying to defend his Government in the Kalinga Nagar massacre matter, Patnaik told the House on 17 Feb.2006 in the evening that he has more than compensated the victims through posthumous financial aid at the rate of Rs.5 lakhs per deceased over and above offer of job to an heir of the bereaved family, Rs.50,000/- per wounded including treatment of one of them in the AIIMS, New Delhi at government cost, critical as was his condition. For wrongful post-mortem examination conducted on the bodies of the 12 gunshot tribals on 2nd Jan.2006, three doctors have been put under suspension and the matter of chopping off of breasts and penes of dead tribal females and males has been drafted to the State Human Rights Commission for needful action. The violence proper has been referred to a Judicial Enquiry Commission and action as per its finding would be taken. Besides this, the government is all set to frame up a rehabilitation policy, which, he claimed, would be the best in the country.

The Chief Minister’s reply provoked Deputy Leader of Opposition Narasingh Mishra, while wrapping up the debate he had initiated, to reprimand the Chief Minister severely for shying away from the charges he had made.

The Opposition had wanted you to tell: why there was so massive deployment of police force at Kalinga Nagar on 2nd January 2006? Why have you not answered this question? He asked the CM.

The Opposition had wanted to know if there was any information filed with the Police by the Tata concern expressing apprehension of any attack by the tribal community necessitating the deployment of armed police in so many packs. Why have you preferred to shy away from this question? He asked the CM.

The Tata establishment has in the mean time clarified that none of its officials was present on the spot on the day of the massacre. The government is not showing if there was any FIR filed by the Tatas. It is clear therefore that it is the State government that had masterminded the massacre on Dec.28, 05 under direction of the CM in the meeting he had taken in his chamber, as earlier alleged, after intelligence report reached him about the rising discontentment amongst the tribal habitants, which the CM has failed to refute, Mishra said.

The question was specific: why school-going children and women taking their bath were gunned down? Why have you not answered that? Tribals going away from Tata’s wall building location were shot at from behind. You were asked to tell the House: who ordered this firing? Why have you not answered that? The Collector as well as the S.P. had talked through their respective mobile phones before and after the massacre. The Opposition had wanted to know as to with whom they had held their conversation. Why have you kept mum on this? There was no apprehension of any assault from the Tatas. There was no FIR from anybody of Tata establishment indicating any apprehension from any tribal to justify so heavy deployment of armed police. Therefore the Opposition had wanted to know as to who had ordered for this deployment. Why have you not told the House of it? Admittedly three doctors have been suspended for wrongful post-mortem. The Opposition had wanted the details of the wrong committed by the said doctors and the post-mortem report. Why have you not laced them in the House? Mishra grilled the CM.

Instead of answering the question raised by Opposition, the CM has tried to escape under the canopy of judicial enquiry. The House must not be allowed to be hoodwinked like this, Mishra warned.

When the Deputy Leader of Opposition was dwelling on such pertinent points, the Chief Minister ventured some comments as the Speaker allowed. Mishra took strong exception to this blatant transgression on the decorum of debates. The Speaker forthwith expressed regrets and clarified that he erred under confusion and allowed Mishra to continue. But the Chief Minister did not relent. He continued uttering incomprehensible words despite vociferous protests from the Opposition members, some of whom even rushed into the well in disgust.

We shall not hear this transgressor of democratic decorum and as long as he has not owned up responsibility for the Kalinga Nagar massacre, we will not participate in any discussion whenever he is on his leg, declared the Deputy Leader of Opposition.

But why Naveen was in a state of fidgetiness?

KALINGA NAGAR MASSACRE: CIRCUMSTANTIAL EVIDENCES POINT AT THE CHIEF MINISTER

Subhas Chandra Pattanayak

Four days passed away in Orissa Assembly debating on Kalinga Nagar massacre, the unprecedented and ugliest onslaught ever perpetrated by the State government on innocent and illiterate tribal people who were crying together for protection of their tiny plots of land from the massive and melancholic grip of the Tata Steel industry that was going ahead with construction of boundary wall, encroaching upon their said plots of land, oblivious of their protests.

Chief Minister Navin Pattanayak, even though his stooges have left no force within their command unused to counter the charges leveled by the Opposition, to the extent of even supporting the police action that extinguished twelve tribal lives, is yet to answer.

What would be his answer would be a matter to watch. But, as on now, he seems to be the mastermind behind the massacre, alleged the Leader of Opposition, J.B.Pattanaik, participating in the debate on February 09.

The Leader of Opposition pointed out the circumstantial evidences point at Naveen Patnaik. It is he who has been working for the mines-grabbers. In the high-level meeting held in his chamber in the Secretariat on Dec.28, 05, it is he who had issued directions to the administration to deploy enough police on the site to help Tatas at any cost to build up their boundary wall. This was the reason of the presence of so huge number of armed police with thirst for tribal blood on the spot where the Tatas were to start wall construction, said J.B.

The local Collector, basing on intelligence report, had informed the State Government, much ahead of the day of the massacre, details of the mass reaction to Tata’s plan for enclosing encroached tribal land within a compound wall. Instead of initiating conciliation in the matter, the meeting held in the Chief Minister’s chamber on Dec.28,05, drew out plans for silencing tribal protests by unleashing a reign of terror. And the result is the unprecedented massacre.

Under such a situation, Naveen Patnaik stands at the center of suspicion. He should own responsibility and quit.

It would be an indication of how the ruling combine is responsible if Naveen is replaced by any other of its members, the Leader of the Opposition told a perplexed treasury bench.