Subhas Chandra Pattanayak

Jagannath Sethi, a poor young man of village Shashang of Baramba Tahsil is dead. But the way Bhubaneswar police has forced his relatives to accept a sum of rupees three thousand and get out of Bhubaneswar with his dead body is too uncommon to be overlooked.

Jagannath had come yesterday to the Chief Minister’s grievance-cell that the CM holds every Saturday. From there he was whisked away to the capital Hospital where he is said to have died.

It is clear that he has not died a natural death. It is also clear that he has not committed suicide.

Death, which is not natural, is of only two types: (1) suicidal and (2) homicidal.

Is he then a victim of homicide? Police must make it clear.

It is clear that he has succumbed to factors of death.

And factors of death overwhelmed him in the grievance cell of Chief Minister Navin Patnaik.

Should it not be investigated into?

Police says, Jagannath succumbed to stampede in the grievance cell. Nothing could be more misleading than this. People, severely harassed by the recalcitrant administration come to the CM’s grievance cell in hope against hope that the highest political executive may stand to his publicized pro-people image and grant them relief. Security police personnel that often exceed the visiters in number guard the cell. How could such a stampede irrupt there that killed a man? Who whipped up the stampede? Who others were affected? What happened to them? If nobody else could be affected why Jagannath alone? How the stampede finally stopped? All these and many more questions need urgent answer.

As it is heard on the grapevine, Jagannath, a wretchedly poor person having metabolic ailments was deeply disappointed to hear that the CM will not be available to hear his grievances. He wondered as to why the CM’s absence was not notified. Had it been notified he would not have borrowed money to come to the grievance cell, he said. But the tone of his protest was not palatable to someone present on the spot. He thrashed him down and he died on the spot. The resultant panic sharpened with gushing in security police force spread out a sudden helter-skelter that provided the police a strong alibi to build up the story of stampede.

This explains as to why the authorities did not allow his relatives to see him in the hospital. This also explains the official eagerness to force the relatives of the victim to leave Bhubaneswar immediately with his dead body and the money offered.

Under the circumstances, the matter looks murkier.

Onus now lies on the Chief Minister to honestly tell the peoples of this province as to what really had happened to Jagannath.

Peoples should know as to why he died and who was or who were the factors of his death in the CM’s grievance cell.

On the other hand the Government should bring out a white paper on how the CM’s grievance cell is functioning. Whether is a mere political trick of the CM to divert public attention from his continuous misrule under the cover of the grievance cell or it is a real serious relief endeavor. It should be ensured that the CM’s grievance cell is not turned into a death trap for helpless peoples, as it appears in the instant case to have become.

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