CHIEF MINISTER IS INVOLVED WITH THE MASSACRE, OPPOSITION INFERS

Subhas Chandra Pattanayak

The Chief Minister’s reply would be awaited with interest; but the charges against him are quite stiff and specific.

Orissa Legislative Assembly, on February 06, superseded its normal business to discuss the issue of the Kalinga Nagar massacre in which record number of 12 members of tribal community, threatened with displacement, were butchered and brutalized by the state machinery in order to help the Tatas grab their land.

The ghastly act occurred on the 2nd day of January, this year.

More than a month has elapsed. The Chief Minister has not yet thought it prudent or proper to pay a visit to the spot where aggrieved members of the tortured tribes have been awaiting justice. He has no guts to face the aggrieved, because he is guilty and his guilty consciousness doesn’t permit him to visit the place, roared deputy Leader of Opposition, Narasingh Mishra, initiating the discussion.

Mishra insisted that Naveen Patnaik was personally involved with the crime against Kalinga Nagar tribes. There was a conspiracy to kill as many tribal people as possible to terrorize the opponents of arbitrary transfer of tribal land to private industries. Otherwise such a bloody annihilation of affected people could not have been carried out, he alleged.

Taking the House back to the background of the massacre, Mishra said, commission agents of private industries, from the ramparts of state administration, were in an acutely irritated mood since May 09, 2005, the day the tribes inhabiting Kalinga Nagar area, started opposing grabbing of their land by the Maharastra Seamless. That day was the beginning of a black chapter in annals of Orissa as the police force was charged upon the tribals like hound dogs determined to take them to task for their audacity to go against industry. A small child, abandoned by parents running away from the charging police, dehydrated to death on the spot as the Collector, the S.P. as well as other so many official functionaries present there did not bother for its rescue. The police raided the tribal habitations in the night and arrested 26 women in blatant violation of all legal norms and human rights, he reminded.

Oppression has been going on relentlessly since then, Mishra pointed out.

On 16 July 2005 residential houses of village Banshipur were affected by blast caused by Jindal. Police compelled the people to quit the village, but protected Jindal.

Similarly, on 17 October 2005, the police acted bluntly against the tribals when they opposed the construction of compound wall by the Tata group on the land under their possession. The tortured tribals, Mishra said, organized a rally at Bhubaneswar on 25 October 2005 to attract attention of the Chief Minister to their plight. It was surprising that the State greeted them by arresting one of their leaders concocting charges that he was involved in the agitation against Maharastra Seamless. The next day, i.e. on 26 October 05, the tribals surrounded the Kalinga Nagar Police Station in protest against continuous police atrocities. It did not fetch any result. Hence, on 22 November 2005, the tribals affected by the Tata project expressed their resentment afresh and demanded stoppage of the construction work by the said company till final settlement of their dispute. State government sided with the Tatas.

Embarrassed by the recalcitrant attitude of their own government, the tribal peoples of various places of Orissa congregated at Kalinga Nagar and expressed solidarity with their affected brethren on November 30. Were Navin Patnaik a responsible Chief Minister, Mishra said, the State Government could have asked Tata to stop construction in order to see that the tribes in hereditary possession of abysmally marginal land patches were not drastically disadvantaged.

Instead of protecting the poor tribals, the Chief Minister sided with the Tatas, alleged Mr. Mishra. He called the concerned District Collector and S.P. on December 24 and asked them to ensure that come what may, Tata must not face any obstacle. The Chief Secretary also had taken similar steps and the Collector having expressed anxiety over possibility of a show down, was rebuked in the conference of Collectors on December 30. The minutes of these two meetings should be placed before the Assembly for finding out the real culprit hiding behind the curtain, said Mr. Mishra.

Mishra alleged that in these two meetings, a stratagem was fixed to use State Force against the agitating tribals in such volume and ferocity that they shall be too terrorized to protest. And that is what happened on January 02, 06.

Quoting the then Collector, Mishra said, that the brutal action on this day was triggered by the orders of the higher-ups. Whose order the Collector had to carry out must be brought to records, he underlined.

Both the top officers of the district, the Collector and the S.P., had talked to unknown persons before and after the massacre. Mr. Mishra apprehended that they had talked to the Chief Minister. Their mobile phones need to be examined to know with whom had they talked, if justice is to be done, Mr. Mishra emphasized.

That a conspiracy was cooked up to kill the tribals is abundantly established by the very fact that on January 02, massive numbers of armed police was deployed at the Tata site. When the Tata concern had not filed any F.I.R., Mishra wanted the Chief Minister to explain, why did the police force in so massive size with abundant quantity of lethal weapons had been put on duty there and why the Collector and S.P. were present with executive magistrates?

The modus operandi was evidently malicious, Mishra roared.

Others have expressed their mind. But all attention is now addressed to what the CM shall say.

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