Subhas Chandra Pattanayak
The Pipili gang-rape victim’s cremation gave birth to such a scene that every genuine Oriya should have liked not to have seen.
Orissa has a government that hijacked the Ambulance the victim’s father was using to take her body for funeral at Ghatikia after receiving the same from SCB Medical College, Cuttack; and, arbitrarily halted the cremation for long 51 hours till it totally decomposed.
Perpetrators of the crime being members/supporters of the ruling party, the police was used to suppress the FIR and the medical system was used to make out a case of snake bite in order to protect the criminals. As media exposed the felony, the minister, who represents the Pipili constituency, had tried to intimidate the reporters. This is why the Media Unity for Freedom of Press (MUFP) had to intervene. In its attempt to protect the journalists from the ire of the minister, MUFP involved the general public in expression of solidarity with the media persons of Pipili. This eventually gave birth to Orissa Gana Samaja (OGS), where political parties thought it prudent to unite sans their flags in demanding justice for the victim of the gang rape.
The government, then, had no other way than taking the victim to its own care and providing free advanced treatment at SCB Medical College, Cuttack.
Therefore, since the day her charge was taken over by the government, she was, alive or dead, absolutely official. It was the responsibility of the government to treat her dead body officially. The government should have decided where and how to cremate her and in that, only accommodated her family members in witnessing the cremation and performing the rituals. So, instead of handing over the body to her family, the Medical College should have handed it over to the government. Government did not take over the body from the Medical College. As result of this, the father of the child had taken over the corpse for cremation.
It is shocking that, thereafter, when the corpse, as received from the Hospital, was being carried for cremation in an ambulance, the police planted its men in the same Ambulance, who, at Rasulgarh, threw out the family members accompanying the corpse and instead of allowing the Ambulance proceed for Ghatikia as desired by the father of the victim for her cremation in presence of relations present in that village, forced its driver to proceed towards Puri. As hundreds of onlookers at Rasulgarh watched it, they tried to foil the carjack by the police itself; but they were subjected to brutal beating by a police force summoned to the spot. It was incumbent upon the government to cremate the body of the victim with due dignity; but it failed. This shows how irresponsible, incompetent and confused the government is.
The irresponsibility, incompetency and confusion of the government is squarely established by the very fact that the dead body of the Dalit girl could not be given obituary respect in her own village as her family was not allowed by the caste hindus, the collaborators of the rapists and the mafia ruling the roost there to perform her last rites, even in presence of the police and the magistrates and the men who matter in administration.
Nothing can be more shameful for the people of the State than the fact that, the State could not dare to ensure cremation of the victimized child by her family members in terms of its tradition in their own village, because, failure of administration to keep under leash the hounds that tortured her to death, was too alarming for them to perform the last rites in their place of birth.
That, the government failed to have the cremation in the birthplace of Babina, the victim, has established that law is not working in Pipili and administration has no control over the area.
It has become a free land for fellows in or close to power to rape any girl of the locality, to attempt to murder her post-rape, to use police and medical officers to arrange death of the victim in medical environment so that the curpus delicti would be of no active witness utility, to keep the family of the victim under constant alarming intimidation so as to deter it from taking appropriate legal action, to purchase the silence of the victim’s relations through posthumous release of massive amount of money from the state exchequer in the style of the ruling chief minister’s help, to use a section of obliging media and village touts and vested-interest politicians to demoralize the civil-society activists through cultivated insinuations even while managing the prosecution to weaken the case by eliminating/ignoring material evidences.
Every Oriya should feel ashamed of having such a chief minister, such a government, such a network of crime and such a situation.