Subhas Chandra Pattanayak
The naked truth that Orissa is perishing under a bad government got exposed at Puri when religious revivalists stampeded six persons including three women into death on the spot and injuring as many as sixty persons including ten children in the barricade erected in the nearest proximity to the chariots of deities when chief minister Navin Patnaik and his cabinet colleagues were overseeing and adding authority to official actions on the Badadanda (greatest revered road) to control Rath Yatra (car festival) of Sri Jagannatha.
This government, voted to power by uninformed franchise, is a curse to Orissa and a sample of how people commit collective blunder in a democracy by electing representatives not on the basis of political economy but on the basis of orchestrated propaganda.
A hybrid of pseudo seculars and rabid communalists, the BJD-BJP coalition has, on the one hand, not shown any resistance to religious revivalism; but, on the other hand, has constantly contributed to communalization of Sri Jagannatha.
Appointment of IAS officers, one after another, belonging only to the Brahmin caste, as chief administrator of Jagannatha temple, is an indicator to the mischief played by the government against the cult of Sri Jagannatha.
What is this cult?
It is a cult against caste supremacy.
By picking up IAS officers only from the stable of caste supremacists to control and manage Jagannatha temple, the government has helped religious revivalism to grow and has closed the doors for scientific study of and discussions on casteless uniqueness of the cult of Sri Jagannatha.
The commercial TV channels in stark competition to catch visitors in order to cultivate and grab advertisement support from economic players who thrive on religious revivalism, have not only given massive publicity to the sophomoric legend-lenders to help religious revivalist, but also have opened up new vistas of publicity for devotion actors like the Samkirtanias, who, by donning Harimandir chitas on their noses have been contributing to transformation of Buddha of Orissa to Krushna of Dwaraka in the form of Sri Jagannatha, so as to help caste supremacist convert him to Vishnu of Vedic order.
These Sankirtanias constituting a pack of around two thousand persons competing with each other amongst them to reach the frontline to be focused by TV cameras stampeded six persons to death on the spot while injuring the others by barging into a four feet narrow barricade erected by police aside the Car of Balabhadra.
It is a matter of shock and shame that when stampeded people were crying for help, these Sankirtanias had no time and heart to bother over that. People died. People were mortally wounded.
The police force present on the spot has seen how the Sankirtanias killed and injured the people. They also know that their barging into the narrow barricaded passage meant for individual or marginally small number of devotees was absolutely unauthorized. But, no action has been initiated against any of the members or the leaders of this troop.
A gang of two thousand Sankirtanias was not of a small number. They were showy people whose sole aim was to attract TV cameras by the massiveness of their strength. So, the police should have earmarked a root for them up to the chariots on their advance intimation. That was not done simply because the Sankirtanias had never intimated the Police about their plan. So, squarely the Sankirtanias are responsible for death of so many people and for the damage done to others.
Chief Minister Navin Patnaik, who should have asked his DGP, present on the spot, to take the Sankirtanias into custody for exemplary punishment for the criminal chaos they have precipitated, has tried to bag silence of the affected people by using the money from his relief fund. It is a sort of bribing the affected people to keep mum.
And, he has gone a step ahead to burry the mishap under the carpet of an administrative enquiry even though his government is a marked impotent in matter of making enquiry committees or commissions delivering their findings.
How far this anarchy is tolerable?