Subhas Chandra Pattanayak
It is a matter of deep distress that the State Government has not been able to extricate Malkangiri Collector R.Vineel Krishna and Kudu-mulu-gumma Block J.E. Pabitra Majhi from abduction even though the deadline fixed and extended by “suspected Maoists”, has passed away.
If the abduction is not a drama, (to divert public attention, as alleged first by BJP, from slow-poisoning of the school going children and pregnant women through contaminated split-pulses fed to them by the government) but is real, the government servants should learn their lesson from this sordid event.
They know that the Maoists would not have gained any ground if administration could have saved the people from exploitation and poverty.
Because of pro-profiteer political economy that the government is engaged in, middlemen and swindlers of public money have mushroomed in every nook and corner of the State and the landless workers and marginal farmers who constitute the majority of the citizenry are perishing below the poverty-line, when welfare funds are being hijacked by suppliers and contractors in nexus with politicians in power and executives in the field.
In a society, in every age, when most tortured people grow pusillanimous, the conscious ones, notwithstanding how small in strength are they, take up the cause of the oppressed majority and emerge as the voice of the voiceless. Exploiters take them as their class enemies and use every harsh method to suppress them. This gives birth to political militancy. Maoists are militant voice of the voiceless people. Hence the exploitive state sees Maoists in every signature of protest against oppression and exploitation.
But, though this wrong is programed by pro-rich political packs in power, some of the government servants mindlessly perpetrate it against innocent Indians who want end of perpetual exploitation.
In different parts of Orissa the general public has been protesting against false linking of ignorant people, particularly tribals, to Maoists activism and harassing them by arbitrary arrests, by fabricated criminal cases, by annihilation through fake encounters etc, etc. It is so true that no official functionary has yet denied the allegations.
No doubt, torturing ignorant people in the name of tackling Maoist violence is illegal. These illegalities are executed by government servants eager to please political bosses. This is destroying the faith of the people in the government servants.
Might be, Vineel Krishna is a dynamic officer with commitment to welfare programs as the government of Orissa is claiming and as the protest rallies led presently by top bureaucrats in places under their respective jurisdictions are projecting.
But generally the government servants are viewed as swindlers of public money and stooges of the exploiters.
All over the state, welfare funds are looted by profit-fetchers and middlemen in nexus with officers and patronized by politicians in power.
Even peons and watchmen under this government have become men of millions as occasional vigilance raids have unveiled.
As the number of suicide by farmers and selling of babies by mothers is rising, so also the number of billionaires in Orissa.
This contradiction is caused by government servants’ total apathy to wretchedly poor people on one hand and on the other, complete surrender to political bosses.
They ought to know that the people pay for their salaries and pension because thereby they are given the strength and stability to stay free from political influence, which, even the constitution makers were afraid, would be illicit and corrupt.
They ought to know that indigenous people have more right on their soil and water and on their living environment than the industrialists coming from outside.
They ought to understand that politicians in power by inheritance or machinations, mostly commission agents, occupied in political economy of capitalism, would always try to keep the common man intimidated by State-power so that they cannot dare to raise their protests against displacement as and when industry and commerce would need their land and living environment.
They ought to know that tolerance has a limit as fear for State-power has a termination point.
If abduction of Malkangiri Collector is not a drama but a reality, its reason should be studied in this light. Government servants should better try to learn the lesson from this event.
The development we are watching since the alleged abduction of Malkangiri Collector is that a tremendous truce has surprisingly been arrived at amongst the three bitter political rivals in Orissa: the BJD, the Congress and the BJP. They are one in castigating the maoists for the abduction even though the news of abduction by Maoists is based entirely on unverified allegations.
Active leftists were described as left-viruses by Prime Minister Man Mohan Singh. This being the mindset of their high command, it was essential for Orissa congress leaders to be one with Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik in his game against the Maoists, which is why, perhaps, the truce has developed.
BJP is by birth anti-Maoists. Hence, when, officers were seen busy in organizing and leading rallies against Maoists under guise of sympathy for the abducted employees, there was no reason for BJP to stay away, even though it was the party that had alleged that the abduction was a drama conceived and enacted by the CM and his team to divert public attention from the serious crime of feeding more than a crore of school-going children and pregnant women with poisoned split pulses.
Thus, it is clear that the Collector’s alleged abduction is being politically used by the state government against Maoists in who it was seeing the greatest obstacle to displacement for industry and to swindling of welfare funds.
It is better for government servants to stay away from this political game. People are paying for their salaries and they should work for the people.
Even as we condemn every attempt to subject anybody to any brute force and sincerely wish Sri Vineel Krishna and Sri Maji safe extrication from the clutch of their abductors, we feel, by organizing and leading subordinate staff and primary school students and their teachers in street demonstrations against Maoists in the guise of voice for release of the abducted officers, the district / sub-division / tahsil / block level heads of administration have given the message that they belong to a class that stands for anarchy, not for removal of contradiction the alleged abduction attracts attention to.
History has Egypt to show as the latest instance of what happens to misusers of power.
Government servants should take note of it and desist from dancing to the tune of politicians in power, if they are honest and not in nexus with swindlers of public exchequer.