Subhas Chandra Pattanayak
It was impossible to overcome the shock. We decided to observe mourning for two weeks.
Mother Orissa is yet to recover. A dozen of her most beloved and innocent children, the tribals, were massacred by agents of capitalism on the 2nd day of January 2006 simply because they ventured to add collective strength to their demand for protection of their fundamental rights from the avarice of industry; in this case, from the Tata house at Kalinga Nagar in Jajpur.
Navin Patnaik has reduced Orissa to a pleasure ground of brutality. Not only twelve proletariats of the tribal community, while participating in a very peaceful sitting-in demonstration, were gunshot by the Police, but also they were butchered. Hands of as many as five of them were chopped off by government doctors, as reportedly admitted by them, under insistent orders of higher authorities. None in authority has supported the doctors. It is obvious, therefore, that the five tribals subdued by the police and taken away from the spot were brutalized till death in police custody and later the doctors commandeered to conduct post-mortem test were to concoct explanations to show that the chopping off was an after-death-medico-legal-necessity. Medico-legal procedures never countenance this. Then why the hands were chopped off? No exercise is necessary to guess the answer. Archers by birth, the tribals use their hands to suit. A message was to be sent to them that they won’t be allowed to use bow and arrow for protection of their properties from industrial acquisition. We do not find any reason to disagree with the apprehension that the hands of the five tribal agitators were chopped off because of this.
The brutality did not end here. Breasts of tribal women and penes of tribal men were also chopped off as observed by their relatives at the time of cremation and reported by a fact-finding delegate of the National Commission on Schedule Tribes. Following the exposure, Chief Minister Navin Patnaik has informed the Press that this particular matter will be addressed to the State Human Rights Commission for investigation. When a judicial commission of enquiry is announced in the matter of the massacre, is the CM in want of knowledge that the HRC has no jurisdiction to entertain any request to conduct any enquiry over any aspect that has any link with the said massacre? Why has he started playing the cards of HRC? If not in fidgetiness, he is surely in a covering up business. If the later is true, what does he want to cover-up? He perhaps wants to cover-up the criminal intent behind the ghastly act. As is well known, the tribal communities understand symbolic messages. They see different phenomena in different symbols. Breasts and penes are symbolic of continuity of their clans. By chopping off these two most vital organs, the message that their reproduction would be interfered with if they go against the Industry was intended to be transmitted.
Had Orissa ever fallen in the hands of such brutes?
But it does not mean that the politicians who are opposing Navin are any better. None of them is opposing acquisition of tribal land for Industry. They are reprimanding only the police action against the tribals. Instead of opposing the government they are opposing the police! And this is the soft thread of political mischief that the people of Orissa are oppressed with.
It is to be noted that the Congress Party leads the Opposition in Orissa. And, Congress runs its Government in the Center with Man Mohan Singh, principal architect of imperialism in ‘socialist’ India as the Prime Minister.
Singh is the man who rendered our Constitutional Pledge for Socialism inconsequential by opening up our economy to imperialism in his previous Avatar as Finance Minister under Narasingh Rao. From the day of his rise in political horizon, the Country has entered into a climate that suits the scamsters. He is the Badsah of the agents of the rich. With him as the Prime Minister running a Congress government in the Center, the Congress in Orissa cannot go against industrial interest and therefore cannot oppose the Tata design in Kalinganagar.
The Communists are a confused lot. In the guise of opposing the right-wing BJP, they have been supporting Man Mohan Singh! If to keep the communalists off power, they were to support the Congress, they should have supported the Congress with any socialistically inclined leader instead of Man Mohan Singh at the helm of administration. But power sans answerability has allured them so much that they have been supporting the very same man who subjected India’s economic sovereignty to the scheme of world trade operators. To expect that they would oppose acquisition of tribal land by the State to provide profit to private industry is to expect the impossible in the present context.
The scenario is not different in case of other opposition parties in Orissa.
Under the circumstances it is clear that the opposition is not opposing Navin Patnaik over allocation of tribal land to Tata in this instant case.
But more tormenting is an apprehension that the Kalingnagar massacre was engineered by the Tata agents.
The Tata house has not established the promised and projected industry in Orissa for which the mines were allotted. A source indicates that Tata wants to exploit the mineral wealth without establishing any industry in real term. Therefore elimination of industrial climate was/is a necessity. And, therefore, the tribals were to be provoked. If there is an iota of truth in this information, then it can be apprehended that the functionaries who masterminded and executed the massacre and mutilation acted on behalf of the Tatas.
Chief Minister Navin Patnaik has enhanced the earlier declared compensation of Rs. one lakh per family of the deceased by five times. Had he been paying from his own pocket there was nothing to worry. But he is squandering away the State exchequer. The functionaries who did the ghastly act should pay, not the State. Navin ought o understand this. If the functionaries were to act on behalf of Tatas, then it would be inferred that Navin Patnaik is trying to purchase silence of the victim for benefit of that industry. This is a serious phenomenon. It is therefore imperative to locate the role the Tata company has played in Kalinganagar.
The judicial commission should be asked to find it out in greater interest of the State. And, in order not to make the enquiry a mockery of State action, it must be made time-bound.