Subhas Chandra Pattanayak
Orissa Gana Samaj that stresses on CBI inquiry into Pipili gang-rape, is facing police action, as the local police station – ill-famed for having given protection to the rapists – has entertained a FIR against its leaders, alleging, because of them, the rape having attracted national attention, face of Pipili has been blackened.
Pipili Assembly Constituency is in strong grip of ruling party BJD. No official here is expected to act independent of BJD influence.
Here, in the village Arjungoda, on 29 November 2011, a Dalit girl was found lying like a dead body in a paddy field abandoned by perpetrators of gang-rape who had tried to murder her after raping, as her living was dangerous to them, she being the only eye witness to a 2008 rape-cum-murder they had committed; and, assuming that she was dead, they had left her motionless body to be eaten away by scavengers.
But a villager stumbled upon the poor child in that pathetic condition and notified her family.
The shocked family took her to Pipili Hospital for immediate medical intervention and informed the police. None of them came to her rescue.
The girl was then taken to the Capital Hospital at Bhubaneswar, which not only blatantly neglected her, but also to eliminate the angle of rape, probably under political pressure, tried to make out a case of snake bite.
The girl, due to willful wrong treatment, went from senselessness to coma and her reference even to the SCB Medical College failed to fetch any proper medical attention; as if revival of her sense was not in the agenda of the government doctors.
She was discharged from the medical college without any medico-legal investigation even though her family had apprised the medical officer of the gang-rape and attempted murder.
As she was thus left without medical care, in the lap of slow death, in a condition of no attention from the State as police was not taking cognizance of rape and attempted murder, the local media took up the matter.
Surprisingly, the loudmouth bigwig of BJD, Minister (as he then was) Pradip Maharathi, representing Pipili in the Assembly, till then silent, woke up to intimidate the Press for reports of the rape!
The minister’s such unexpected attack on the media made the watchdog of journalistic interest, the Media Unity for Freedom of Press (MUFP) take up the issue and eventually, under its initiative, for the first time in the post-independence history of Orissa, politicians sans their party flags got united with the civil society against the government’s design to suppress this felony, which gave birth to the Orissa Gana Samaj (OGS), with representatives of MUFP – Prasanta Patnaik and Rabi Das – as its joint conveners.
The loudmouth minister had to resign from the cabinet; the Government had to readmit the victim in the medical college afresh and to arrange for her treatment under inspection and instructions from super-specialists and medical scientists from the All India Institute of Medical Sciences, New Delhi; and other official organs had to get activated. The Home department had to initiate action against the police inspector who had protected the rapists and the alleged rapists were arrested, notwithstanding howsoever farcical that was.
Had the OGS not taken up the matter, the victim could never have got government attention and the possibility of prosecution against the rapists could never even have developed.
So, the ruling party, its loudmouth leader who was forced to resign in the gang-rape context, its local hoodlums to which segment the alleged rapists belong, are acrimoniously angry upon the OGS.
Now as a FIR has been filed against the representatives of OGS by a man who claims that by exposing the gang-rape, they have embarrassed Pipili in the eyes of the nation, one is inclined to accept that there are elements in Pipili to whom raping a woman is not a crime against the land, but exposing the crime is a crime. This throws light on the liking of the party that rules over Orissa, specifically when such a mischievous FIR has been entertained by the police.
Prasanta Patnaik, Convener of OGS, has demanded that the matter in its entirety be handed over to CBI for an in-depth investigation, as the State Police seems to be in habitual nexus with the criminals.