Subhas Chandra Pattanayak
It was not easy for the Opposition to make the Government understand that it was answerable to Orissa Legislative Assembly on the massacre perpetrated by the State on tribal population at Kalinga Nagar on 2nd January 2006. After almost a total collapse of scheduled businesses of the House for three consecutive days from the beginning of the 7th session, as the situation became more clamant under matching mass agitation against the crime, the Chief Minister told the Speaker on 6th of February 2006, “The Government is ready for an immediate and major discussion on the subject”. Then the Speaker invited Deputy Leader of Opposition Mr. Narasigh Mishra to move his motion for discussion.
Mishra moved the motion thus, “That the matter relating to Kalinga Nagar incident that took place on dt.2.1.2006 resulting in killing of 12 Adivasis and the situation arising out of that incident be discussed”. The motion duly moved, the Speaker called upon Mishra to start his speech. Mishra started his speech after thanking the Speaker “for conducting the House afresh after the Government ran away from this House, being afraid of facing the Opposition”. But he could not proceed initially. Back-benchers of the treasury side, till polemically thrashed to stay within limits, went on causing interruptions. Mishra attributed the interruptions to the Chief Minister in no uncertain term. Thereafter, as I watched, interruption subsided.
Mishra held the Government, specifically Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik and Chief Secretary Subas Pani responsible for the killing of 12 persons of tribal community as well as for brutalization of their bodies. “You are angry with the tribals because they were opposing your financiers. You wanted to terrorize Adivasis because you are in the pockets of industrial houses. So, to protect the interest of industrialists you wanted a message to go that you can do anything and everything. This is how he scolded the Chief minister in his fact loaded attack on the Government.
Pointing out that the “Government has taken absolutely no step to provide food to the poor and downtrodden even though almost 90% of people in the tribal area being below the poverty line”, Mishra said, “it wants to drive out the adivasis, the dalits and the rustic villagers from their home land which they have been occupying for centuries. It wants to deprive the farmers from their cultivable lands. It wants the irrigation to be diverted from agriculture to industry. It wants to enrich the rich, the industrial houses and the mine owners at the cost of the poor farmers, the tribals, the dalits as well as at the cost of the State”.
Telling that the Kalinga Nagar massacre was not sudden and unexpected, Mishra gave a detail picture of how the Government had tried time and again to terrorize the tribals through the police or pokiness. The January 2 massacre was preplanned and both the Chief Minister and the Chief Secretary had compelled the Collector and S.P. to carry out the carnage.
“I have definite information that the Chief Minister took a meeting of the officials on 24th December 2005 and there he pressurized the officers to see that Tata proceeds with construction. He asked the officers to see that the opposition by the adivasis comes to an end”, Mishra declared. He pointed out that since May 1995, the tribals have been demonstrating their resentment against handing over their land to industrialists even braving terrorism unleashed by the State. He recalled how mercilessly the police had assaulted the people who were protesting against “Bhumi Puja” on their soil by the Maharastra Seemless. The A.D.M. of the district was present there. “All the male had to rush to the jungle to hide themselves and save themselves from the police torture, so much so, while running way from the police assault, a woman gave birth to a child, but left it behind. The baby could not be carried. The baby was separated from the mother. The newly born child had to die out of starvation“, Mishra cried out indicating how 26 women including school going children were arrested to pressurize male members of their families to surrender.
Strengthened by such sort of State support, industrialists became so reckless that on 16 July 2005 many houses in Bansipur village were damaged due to blasting by Jindal. The poor villagers protested but in vain when villagers of Chandia and Gobarghat opposed construction work being carried out by the Jindal industries. On 17 October 2005, tribals as well as other marginal farmers opposed TATA’s construction work and decided to stage a demonstration rally at Bhubaneswar. A tribal leader of the area was apprehended by police at Bhubaneswar on 25 Oct.05 while participating in the rally in protest against which the tribal people “gheraoed” the Kalinga Nagar police station, the next day on 26 Oct 05. Reattempt to construct the Wall by TATA was also opposed on 22 Nov.05 by the tribals who held their grand plenum on 30 Nov.05 to oppose industries claiming rights over their own ancestral land and to resolve not to leave their home and hearth in favor of Industries. Alarmed by this collective resentment, the Chief Minister had taken the December 24 meeting, Mishra said, holding the same to be the beginning of a conspiracy to kill the tribals.
“We therefore like to know and the House has every right to know what for the meeting on 24 of December 2005 was called, what transacted in that meeting, what decision was taken in that meeting?”, said Mr. Mishra.
Then he went on giving further information. “I have information that the Chief Secretary took a meeting on 31st of Dec.05. In this meeting he asked the officers to ensure that at any cost TATA should be allowed to have his construction. If this is true, then that was the subsequent stage of conspiracy which ultimately resulted in the killing of the tribals”, he declared.
Informing the House that the Chief Secretary had “banged” the Collector as well as the S.P. of Jajpur “thereby putting pressure to help TATA going out of way”, Mishra referred to what the Collector had told the Press after the massacre. The collector had volunteered that the action taken at Kalinga Nagar on 3rd January, 2006 was “at the behest of higher-ups”. This “higher-up” may be the Chief Minister or the Chief Secretary or may be both, Mr. Mishra underlined.
He informed that both the top officers of the district had their respective mobile phones from which they had talked with unknown persons both before and after the incident. With who had they talked? He called upon the Chief Minister to reveal with whom those two top executives had talked before and after the massacre as the same could easily be ascertained from the memory cards.
Why so large numbers of armed police were deployed at Kalinga Nagar on 2nd January 2006? Under whose direction and on which ground had they gone there? Asked Mishra.
Was there any F.I.R. from TATA?
Was their any quarrel between TATA and the tribals on 2nd Jan 06?
Was there any intelligence report on possibility of any showdown between TATA and the tribals on the particular day on the basis of which so heavy a police force with accompanying magistrate, Collector and S.P had to be drafted to the spot with power to kill?
These were also amongst the questions the deputy Leader of Opposition had asked while initiating the discussion.
The Chief Minister shied at all these questions.
This question hunts even many in the BJD who do not know intricacies of applied plutocracy.