Subhas Chandra Pattanayak
Political climate of Orissa is agog with speculations over investigations into the 6th September violence that Bhubaneswar witnessed in the context of a Congress congregation. In our view, investigation is needed into whether or not the violence was state induced. Let us elaborate.
The Congress had given a ‘Vidhansabha Gherau’ call and its members, supporters and members of the general public whom the call was not inappropriate had joined the ‘Gherau’ program.
It was a political action by the main Opposition in the State against misrule by the Government.
It was very natural for the Government to try to defeat the Congress purpose.
The heavy presence of police with mob controlling preparedness is indicative of how the Government was looking at the congregation, even before its commencement.
To the people in power, against whose misrule the ‘gherau’ call was given, the responders to the call were not political people, but a mob.
So, it must have been a must for the people in power to project the congregation as a mob.
And for this specific purpose, they must have pressed their trusted men to mingle with the Congress supporters to act as agent provocateurs in the congregation in order to justify use of State-terror against the protesters to shatter the congregation. This is indicated by the brickbats that eventually occurred.
The police, with x-raying eyes kept open, was so very overwhelmingly present on every road, on every lane and sub-lane to the place of the congregation that without help of the police or unless the police had deliberately closed its eyes to ruling party hoodlums entering into the area well equipped with bricks and stones to create the disorder, these arsenals could never have reached the spot. With every photo journalist focussed on the place of the congregation, miscreants entering into the area with throwable objects must certainly have escaped the lenses.
On the other hand, these shenanigans were not catchable by camera. Therefore, the TV cameras missed it and therefore it was not presented in live telecast of this incident. The viewers of TV watched the brickbats, but failed to see who allowed the arsenals enter into the area; because that remained beyond the cameras’ catching capacity.
TV telecasters’ inability to capture the shenanigans does not absolve the government of the crime of misusing police to unleash State-terror on political protesters against its misrule.
But cameras have caught the visible pictures of police action and of protesters’ reaction thereto. We have just kept a few of those pictures on records as a contribution to living history. Nothing personal. No bias.
Our report has shown how the editor of Sambad Soumya Ranjan Patnaik was brutally assaulted by the police when there was no threat to public peace from him and in a place where he was not caught involved with any offense. Was there any reason to beat him in the residential area of a ruling party MLA, if police was not used to cause the chaos?
Police personnel in plain clothes were also seen chasing the protesters, which makes the government side playing the mischief more visible.
Not only ORISSA MATTERS, but also all the newspapers of the State have presented photos of how protesters have been beaten up by the police and like us, they also have shown pictures of how the beaten up people have retorted. Come the Assembly session, the M.G.Road gets choked with barricades made with bamboos in both the sides. The protesters beaten mercilessly by the police, at the end of all the limits of tolerance, seem to have used the same barricades to pull out bamboos to use in self defense.
We very strongly hold, had the Government not viewed the congregation as a mob from the beginning, and had it not deployed so huge packs of police with mob-controlling equipments, and had the agent provocateurs not been helped to play tricks on the congregation, and had the police not closed its eyes to entry of agent provocateurs into the congregation area with arsenals for brickbats, and had the government, instead of barricading the area, allowed the Congress to proceed peacefully with the Gherau, the Congress program could have just been symbolic and M.G. Road would never have seen the acts of violence on September 6.
So, who indulged in violence is not the issue. The issues for investigation should be: why the Government did not allow the Congress to conduct the peaceful “Vidhansabha Gherau” when permission was sought for the same under the police act and by grant of permission, the legitimacy of the Opposition stance was accepted; and why the Police did not stop the arsenals entering into the area of the congress congregation by the agent provocateurs?
Hence, investigation needed into whether or not the 6th September Violence was Government induced.