Subhas Chandra Pattanayak
There is nothing noteworthy in sentencing a man called Manoj Pradhan to 7 years of imprisonment by a First Track Court for a murder offense. But noteworthy is the fact that Pradhan is a member of Orissa Legislative Assembly elected from G.Udayagiri Constituency in 2009 election, the same election that has helped the incumbent Chief Minister capture the chair for the third term.
Judge Sovan Kumar Das has on June 29 found him guilty of offenses under Section 326 (making severe injury to a person that caused his death) and Section 148 (rioting, armed with deadly weapon or anything capable of causing death).
And his crime is viewed in the context of mass mania created in Hindu community following the murder of Hindu activist Laxmanananda, who had emerged as the strongest obstacle to conversion of Hindu society’s poorer fellows to Christianity in the district of Kandhamal.
Pradhan belongs to BJP, the party of the communalists that are eager for transforming India from a Constitutionally Secular State to a Hindu Religious State (Hindurastra). It is easy to assume that murder of Parikhit Digal, a Christian resident of Barepanga village under the Raikia Police Station on August 27, 2008, for which Pradhan has been held guilty, was an act to avenge the death of Laxmanananda.
In view of the judgment, Pradhan is a rioter that caused death. But there is nothing noteworthy in that. Any rioter or murderer may belong to any political party. In fact, in political parties at present these sorts of people rule the roost. So Pradhan being a member of BJP is not noteworthy.
What is noteworthy is that, he had bagged massive majority of the votes in the constituency when he was put behind the bars due to his role in the riots. He had defeated his nearest rival by over 30,000 votes.
The judgment is noteworthy because of this.
This judgment gives us opportunity to understand that in our system persons who catch massive votes may possibly be the persons, who could one day be held guilty of heinous crimes like murder, attempt to murder, loot and arson.
This happens, when people without reading a person on the matrix of sacrifice for common cause give whimsical and misconceived support to sons or daughters of political fathers, retired service-holders that had drawn salaries from the State Exchequer, Bankers and others that were habituated in sabotaging democracy to facilitate emergence of plutocracy.
Judge Sovan Das’s judgment is significant is this context as it reaffirms a phenomenon that the gullible voters give their massive support in elections to politicians not because of their positive contributions to society, but because, criminals are more organized, influential and insurmountable.
No wonder election 2009 has ushered in persons to power that play havoc upon our motherland in order to safeguard and serve the interest of foreign traders, mass-killers, mine-mongers, land-grabbers and looters of our natural resources. It is difficult to say who in politics is how much different from Manoj Pradhans; because all of those in power say their victory is because of the mass support they enjoy.
The judgment on G.Udayagiri MLA is capable of being used as a mirror, by looking into which, our democracy may remove the dirtiness its face has acquired in course of its “tryst with the destiny” so far.
This is why the judgment is noteworthy.