Historic Rally Against the Rape Raj: OGS Submits Memorandum to Governor In Absentia

Subhas Chandra Pattanayak

The Media Unity for Freedom of Press (MUFP), in its principled fight to protect freedom of press from nefarious design of the Minister hailing from Pipili where gang rape of a dalit girl by politically pampered crooks has driven her into coma, has earned unreserved support from patriotic persons of Orissa active in politico-social spectrum in the State.

A protest rally, from which the ruling party stayed away although the Pipili felony is too serious for politicians with concern for the people to stay away, despite obstructions created on its way by the police, gave the Governor a memorandum in absentia against the administration siding with the rapists.

The MUFP initiative has given birth to Orissa Gana Samaj under which banner the rally was organized on 16 January 2012. After the rally, it reviewed the outcome of the peaceful  demonstration participated by nine opposition political parties, social activists, poets, artists, lawyers, intellectuals, women organizations,  youth organization etc. in protest against the Pipili Gang Rape.

Representatives of Congress, BJP, CPI, CPI (M), CPI (ML) Liberation, CPI (ML), Forward Block, Samajbadi Party , Odisha Nagaraik Samaj, Chasimulaia Adivasi Sangh,Save Odisha Forum, CITU, Basti Surakhya Manch attended the review meeting and expressed their satisfaction over success of today’s  protest march and congratulated all for the success of the historic rally in which members of all opposition parties had participated.

The review meeting resolved that Prasanta Patnaik and Rabi Das, the joint
conveners of the Gana Samaj would brief the media about the various programs of the Samaj .

It was decided to send a team on behalf of the Gana Samaja to the village of the rape victim  to meet her family members and extend support to them.

The meeting also resolved to organize demonstrations in Cuttack on 21st January, in Sambalpur on 24th January and in Berhampur on 27th to protest against the Pipili gang rape incident.

It was also decided to appeal all political parties and civil society organizations to organize dharana and  hunger strike all over the State near statues of Mahatma Gandhi on  30th January ,2012.

It was further resolved to press upon  the Orissa Government to immediately implement the Supreme Court Guidelines on Section 3 and 4 of the S.C.S.T. Act. 1989.

Earlier, at 10.30 the protest rally had started from the Station Square as per its announced program.

For the first time in the history of Orissa political luminaries from all non-BJD parties had joined the rally without party flags, the Media Unity for Freedom of Press (MUFP) being the originator of the current protest.

The Government fidgeting in fear of the unprecedented public support to MUFP initiative against threat to freedom of Press from the Minister representing Pipili, refused to allow the rally have a Sit-in-Dharana in front of the Governor House and instead had insisted that the rally should return to the starting spot though the AG square.

But, in the AG square, the police tried to stop the march that further exposed the government’s anti-people and anti-democracy attitude.

The determined demonstrators drafted a delegation to the Raj Bhawan under leadership of the two MUFP leaders Prasanta Patnaik and Rabi Das, who also are joint conveners of the Gana Samaj to give a memorandum to the Governor.

Here is the copy of the memorandum, signed, besides the MUFP leaders, by delegates of the political parties and civil society organizations and submitted to the Governor in Raj Bhawan in absentia:

Shri Muralidhar Chadrakant Bhandare
Honourable Governor
Odisha State,
Raj Bhavan,

Respected Rajyapalji,

With deep shock and utter disbelief we the concerned citizens of Odisha would like to bring to your kind notice yet another fact which would shake and shatter any citizen’s minimum faith in the government and administrative system of the day. The Government has turned out to be nightmare for women of the state and this  has been abundantly
proved in the Pipli gang rape case and all other rape cases reported from across the state.

A dalit girl who could gather the courage to depose before the court in a rape case committed by powerful local elements with ruling party affiliations three years latter herself becomes a victim of gang rape and attempt to murder by the same forces. Not only that, the earlier victim also has mysteriously died giving rise to speculation of a well
thought out murder and not suicide as officially stated. The incidence that occurred on November 28, 2011 causing the gang rape and attempt to murder of the dalit girl who was witness to the rape of 2008 was also part a criminal conspiracy. In both  cases the complicity of the police  has been exposed. The way the police handled the whole case in the last three years and  the way the state run hospitals behaved with a dying victim of rape could no more be kept away from public eyes. The role of the local M.L.A, and Minister for Agriculture has come under strong suspicion.

Without wasting any further time as presumably you are aware of the developments in the Pipli gang rape case we would like to put forth the following demands with the expectation that as head of state in odisha you will kindly intervene at the earliest and put a check on the erosion of faith in the criminal justice of the State.

1. The dalit rape and attempt to murder victim of Pipli must be provided with all medical support and her recovery must be ensured keeping in mind the terrible reality that her death may destroy all hopes for punishing the criminals and criminalized political elements.

 She must be provided with a well proof security cover as there is always a threat to her life.
3. All ruling party elements connected with the crime/accused to be having links with the criminals must immediately be arrested and put behind bar.

4. Instaed of Crime Branch of the State Government , the case should be handed over to the  CBI for  investigation immediately.

5. All rape cases/gang rape cases in the state must be reviewed by an independent body and cases closed before judicial verdicts must be reopened.

6. All rape victims must be enabled to lead a normal life and they must be adequately rehabilitated including the Pipli gang rape victim.

7. Those who have died/got killed/committed suicide next of their kith and kin must be financially compensated.

No Confidence in the Crime Branch, Mr. Chief Minister?

Subhas Chandra Pattanayak

In appointing a Judicial Commission of Inquiry to probe into the Pipili gang-rape case, Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik has indicated that he too has no faith in the Crime Branch of the State. Sad.

People are rejecting the Judicial Commission as such judicial commissions are of no use in timely dispensation of justice inasmuch as prosecutions will have to wait till the Government accepts its report and approves its recommendations, which may take a decade.

This nasty administrative game needs no elaboration, as, more than a dozen of Judicial Commissions appointed to probe into felonies committed during Naveen Patnaik’s incumbency are not yet able to arrive at their final findings.

When they conclude their investigations, they shall submit their answers to issues fixed by the Government to the Government under the Commission of Inquiries Act and then the Government, taking time as it likes, will decide on acceptability of the recommendations and then only, if recommendations are for prosecution against persons found responsible for the crime concerned, prosecution shall start. And, the case shall enter into a labyrinth of litigations, which the person or persons affected by the crime can seldom tackle to obtain justice.

So, Judicial Commissions of Inquiry are safe havens for the criminals.

Naveen Patnaik has provided such a haven to executants of the felony at Pipili.

Hence, the only alternative available, is a CBI inquiry. Orissa’s greatest watchdog of freedom of press, the Media Unity for Freedom of Press (MUFP) is spearheading the demand for such an inquiry.

Come Monday – 16 January – Bhubaneswar, the citadel of the rulers, will see political luminaries, social activists, students leaders, youth bigwigs, cultural celebrities together with the media persons in a very unique solidarity march against the State Government shying at the proposal for inquiry by CBI while its Minister from Pipili has been trying to intimidate the Press for having focused on the felony.

I maintain that it would have been the best had the primacy of Crime Branch in investigation into and initiation of penal prosecution against the Pipili crime not been crippled by the State Government. It is sad that the Police is tolerating this deathblow from the Chief Minister on credibility of its star sector, the Crime Branch. The Police top-brass’s ‘Yes Boss’ habit is making the gravest casualty of the crime investigation machinery. It is not yet defined, but discernible to alert eyes that the State Police is feeling suffocated by annihilation of credibility of the Crime Branch by a Chief Minister of no political will.

It would be better for Naveen to read the writings on the wall.

Rapists’ Alleged Shield in the State Cabinet Intimidates the Press

Subhas Chandra Pattanayak

People in Orissa have become such habituated with keeping mum in the prevalent environment of crime that the students and social activists – usually the most vocal in collective civil causes – were not even daring to raise voice against the negligence to the Pipili rape victim – battling for life under coma – till media coverage made it a matter worth sharp societal attention.

NOW the civil society stands in solidarity with the victim and she is receiving medical care at SCB Medical College, Cuttack, where a couple of days ago treatment was denied to her.

The Pipili Police Station in-charge, who had remained gravely negligent to the case of the victim has NOW been displaced by way of transfer and police has registered the case that then it was not looking at.

The family members of the victim, who were not daring to utter the names of the bruits that perpetrated the crime, lest they further torture, are NOW pointing their accusing fingers at them and unambiguously naming them even before the cameras.

NOW there is no aloofness in the public and many have started believing that police can no more succeed in covering up endeavor, if any.

But NOW the loudmouthed leader of the ruling party, the Agriculture Minister Pradip Maharathi has become very angry with the media. He has hurled alarming words at media persons and media organizations for having carried the versions of the victim’s family members, in a style akin to act of intimidation.

Whither the State?