In the matter of Pipili gang-rape-cum-murder, the Orissa Gana Samaj (OGS) repeated its demand for investigation by CBI and speedy penal action on all the rapists and their protectors amongst politicians, police and medical officers without loss of time. On its behalf, the following memorandum was submitted today by its delegates to Governor Murali Chandrakant Bhandare.
We feel terribly hurt and disgusted as despite our consistent campaign, appeal and warning Babina Behera’s life could not be saved. This is undoubtedly a defeat for ethics, laws and institutions thriving for democracy in Orissa. Her death has put a big question mark before the trial of the mass rape case since all circumstantial evidences had been destroyed earlier or not taken care of within the necessary time frame either by deliberate neglect or by possible manipulation and maneuvering, thus making a mockery of the process of prosecution. There has been also criminal negligence by doctors in providing most immediate treatment.
Justice which seemed difficult and looked distorted now seems to be being buried. But still Orissa Gana Samaj thinks all is not gone. If the government of Orissa is serious about punishing the culprits despite their strong links with powerful elements in the ruling BJD it can still do a lot and get justice for the families of the dead sufferers.
As we have all already apprised you in our last appeal in the second week of March 2012, the Orissa Gana Samaj was formed by aggrieved political parties in opposition, agonized intellectuals, activists and political organizations and citizens to get justice for Babina and similar cases across the state concerning helpless women who have been victims of sexual crimes and criminal conspiracies involving politically powerful elements. Because of the campaign of the Orissa Gana Samaj the government did concede to a few demands by dismissing the Inspector -in charge of Pipili police station and by arresting all accused. The agriculture minister was also dropped from the cabinet. But no steps were taken to strengthen the prosecution and to go for a CBI investigation of the Babina rape and attempt to murder case as it involved the rape and death in mysterious circumstances of another girl three years back. If you may kindly recollect, the following concerns and demands were raised in our appeal to you seeking your kind and immediate intervention.
“The Nabin Patnaik regime has turned out to be nightmare for women of the state and this has been abundantly proved in the Pipli gang rape case and all other rape cases reported from across the state.
A dalit girl who could gather the courage to depose before the court in a rape case of her friend Pravati Behera by powerful local elements with ruling party affiliations three years latter herself becomes a victim of gang rape by the same forces. Not only that, the earlier victim also has mysteriously died giving rise to speculation of a well thought out murder and not suicide as officially stated. The incidence that occurred on November 28, 2011 causing the gang rape and attempt to murder of the dalit girl who was witness to the rape of 2008 was also part a criminal conspiracy. In both cases the complicity of the police and ruling pary MLA and Minister of Agriculture in the crime has been subject of strong suspicion. The way the police handled the whole case in the last three years and the way the state run hospitals behaved recently with a dying victim of rape could no more be kept away from public eyes. The Nabin Patnaik government has no answer and no convincing explanation to offer. Simply ordering a judicial inquiry or suspending a police official will not bring justice to the victims- one who has died and the witness of the dead who is battling for life since November 2011. If one of the accused could be arrested now after so many hue and cries was created, why the culprits were not arrested and tried before-asks any conscientious citizen of the state.
Without wasting any further time as presumably you are aware of the developments in the Pipli gang rape case we would like to put forth the following demands with the expectation that as head of state in odisha you will kindly intervene at the earliest and put a check on the erosion of hope for justice in Odisha today.
1. All ruling party elements connected with the crime/accused to be having links with the criminals must immediately be arrested and put behind bar under charges of murder, conspiracy, abetment to rape and murder etc. The Doctors who have neglected treatment of Babina at Pipili, Capital Hospital as well as at S.C.B. Medical College Hospital must be prosecuted for negligence of duty amounting to murder.
2. A CBI investigation of the cases of rape and death of Pravati Behera as well as that of Babina Behera must be taken up immediately.
3. The officers in police hierarchy including DG police and home secretary must be sacked and arrested so that it will discourage the cadre/officers from becoming party to the crime/criminal conspiracies at any level.
4. All rape cases/gang rape cases in the state must be reviewed by an independent body and cases closed before judicial verdicts must be reopened.
5. All rape victims must be enabled to lead a normal life and they must be adequately rehabilitated including the Pipli gang rape victim.
6. Those who have died/got killed/committed suicide next of their kith and kin must be financially compensated.”
7. Cases against Gana Samaj ;leaders is a well planned design to throttle the opinion and fundamental rights and freedom of speech , must be dropped. Now that Babina has died much to the delight of the culprits and their protectors in the ruling BJD party and government, which apparently they anticipated, the case has taken a new turn. All believers in democracy are eager to know the fate of the case. Had she opened her mouth, truth would have come out. Now since she has been silenced for ever and truth has been made to rest, a CBI investigation can only help in digging out the truth from her grave. It may not be required to reemphasize the fact that Babina’s case is no more a mass rape case. It has become a murder case now. Every murder is done with an intention. The accused may be in judicial custody now but their protectors and their partners in crime are roaming free. They have even gone to the extent of registering a FIR against the members of Odisha Gana Samaj with the single most intention of discouraging us and destroying the case. Therefore, we consider it high time for your good office to intervene and to please initiate action.
Along with other demands submitted earlier we would like to reiterate the following:
1. Ask the Chief Minister to go for a CBI investigation of the rape and murder case of Babina and her friend Pravati. It is because of her courage to get justice for her dead friend Babina paid a price in terms of her dignity and life.
2. Ask the government to book all accused in the rape case under 302 as it has also turned out to be a murder. All police officials and doctors must be immediately booked and tried in this rape and murder case.
3. Babina’s family facing harassment and torture at the instigation of antisocial and ruling party elements in the locality must be rehabilitated honorably elsewhere with protection.
4. All laws protecting women and their dignity must be implemented properly and with provisions of regular and effective monitoring. With best regards
Joint Conveners along with the members