Subhas Chandra Pattanayak
Despite bail granted by the District Judge, leaders of the Home Guards of Orissa are perishing in prison, because the police know that the State government is too spineless to intervene in any matter they design to do.
The conduct of the State Government encourages the police.
The minimum one expects of a State Government is that, it should be an ideal employer. But Mr. Naveen Patnaik is heading a government that acts rabid exploiter.
It has employees in almost all departments who work regularly on jobs of regular nature; but despite that, even after having worked for years together, they are not regularized. They are kept away from legitimate time scale salaries and no service benefit is available to them. Their exploitation was earlier going on under various nomenclatures like work-charged employees, NMR, DLR etc and now is going on under the design of contracts. They are bereft of minimum wages and service conditions. When they demand for regularization in jobs, they are tortured through the police. Mahatma Gandhi Marg of Bhubaneswar is witness to umpteen such acts of oppression.
Now a part of police organization – the Home Guards – has fallen a prey to this devilish practice. In Orissa,15192 persons are working against 18441 sanctioned posts of Home Guards, which means they are overworking to manage the duties of 3249 Home Guards that are not even recruited. They assist the police in maintaining law and order, beat patrolling at night and in urban locations, in regulating traffic, patrolling in PCR vans, even in driving police vehicles, and carrying out duties at various important nerve centers of administration in odd hours as and when their area Police Officer requires. Any reluctance to obey orders of the P.S. precipitates retrenchment.
But they are not properly paid. They are not protected by any fair and legal service condition. They are not given the status of government servants. They are not assured with any service stability and any retirement benefit, even though they have been working in sanctioned posts.
As they protested against this exploitation and raised a demand for enhancement of the abysmally low wages they get, they were brutally beaten up by the police at the PMG point of the M.G.Marg on March 22, 2013 to suppress their voice against exploitation and massive arrests were made under various charges. The district judiciary granted them bail.
But, now it transpires from a statement issued by the President and the Secretary of the Bhubaneswar District Unit of their association that despite the bail, their State President and seven other members of the State leadership including three lady Home Guards have been refused freedom by the Police that project them as habitual offenders. This is sheer misuse of sec.110 with intent to harass and demoralize them further, they allege.
Sad, the State Government is unable to feel how adversely it may affect the environment of law and order maintenance.