Rath Yatra commences with contravention of the Supreme Court Order

Subhas Chandra Pattanayak

Adjustment of judicial tone to the tune of majoritarian religion is the reality that we see in the order of the Supreme Court of India’s Monday Order in the matter of Rath Yatra of SriJagannatha at Puri, Orissa.

This great festival reflects the splendid uniqueness Orissa’s Buddhist past and the matchless mana of the matriarchal race of the Oriyas. So, the Supreme Court decision to change its earlier order to allow the Rath Yatra is a matter of soleful celebration for the people of Orissa. And we celebrate.

But, as democrat Indians, we are unable to appriciate the Supreme Court’s indulgence in hoodwinking the Law. The Order is beyond execution and is bound to lead to manipulation of records to hoodwink the Law.

Orissa Government has been ordered by the Supreme Court to maintain a record of persons allowed in Rath Yatra, with details of their medical conditions after testing. The Order was pronounced when the Monday Sun was preparing to set. The Rath Yatra commences before the sun rises on Tuesday.Is it possible for the Government of Orissa to ensure all who would be “allowed” in the Yatra test “negative” before being allowed, with details of the tests?

Was the Supreme Court sure of the Orissa Government’s capacity of testing all the Chariot-pullers and servitors to be allowed in the Yatra within such small period of time to decidedly determine that they are COVID-19 negative? Has the Supreme Court convinced itself that the Government of Orissa is competent and equipped to prepare a register of persons allowed in Rath Yatra with details of their medical condition after testing? The Supreme Court should honestly reveal it, this being relevant to life of the people.

The Supreme Court, in view of its such order, should have appointed its representative to inspect this register before allowing people in the Rath Yatra. It has not.

In its writ, the Court has stipulated that each Rath, i.e, Chariot, shall be pulled by not more than 500 persons. Each of those 500 persons shall be tested for the Coronavirus. They shall be permitted to pull the chariot only if they have been found negative. We stress on the word “shall”. This stipulation makes testing of Coronavirus an inviolable prerequiste for Chariot pulling. Earlier testing reports shall have no relevance.

While writing this report, I am watching Sudarshana’s Pahandi.

Where is social distancing?

Posted by Subhas Chandra Pattanayak on Monday, June 22, 2020

I call upon the Supreme Court Judges to watch it. Is there any social distancing? No. I insist that the Judges should react.

Have they, behind our back,and off the records, amended the COVID-19 Regulations of Orissa to allow such violation of social distancing? Have they changed the Epidemic (amendment) Act to protect the Order-brakers in Pahandi and events of the likes? No. I insist, as a law abiding citizen, that the Supreme Court judges should react to this.

Rule of Law cannot and mustn’t be allowed to get burried like this, so that religious majoritarianism succeeds in doing away with the spirit and the purpose of India.

The Supreme Court must order itself to desist from making any order that cannot be orderly executed.

Corona quagmire// Art.25 of the Constitution of India saves the people

Subhas Chandra Pattanayak

Corona quagmire could have been absolutely unfathomable had the Car Festival (Rath Yatra) of SriJagannatha in Puri, Orissa not have been stopped by the Supreme Court of India as per Article 25 of the Constitution.

Captioned “Freedom of conscience and free profession, practice and propagation of religion”, this Article says”

Subject to public order, morality and health and to the other provisions of this Part, all persons are equally entitled to freedom of conscience and the right freely to profess, practise and propagate religion

(2) Nothing in this article shall affect the operation of any existing law or prevent the State from making any law
(a) regulating or restricting any economic, financial, political or other secular activity which may be associated with religious practice;
(b) providing for social welfare and reform or the throwing open of Hindu religious institutions of a public character to all classes and sections of Hindus
Explanation I – The wearing and carrying of kirpans shall be deemed to be included in the profession of the Sikh religion
Explanation II – In sub clause (b) of clause reference to Hindus shall be construed as including a reference to persons professing the Sikh, Jaina or Buddhist religion, and the reference to Hindu religious institutions shall be construed accordingly.

The humanitarian order in Writ Petition(s)(Civil) No(s)572/2020, between Odisha Vikash Parisad and Union of India and others is extracted below:

It is not disputed that the number of people that are likely to gather for the annual Rath Yatra scheduled to be held from 23rd June, 2020, is going to be about 10 to 12 lakhs. The festivities normally continue for a period of 10 to 12 days, Having regard to the danger presented by such a large gathering of the people for the Rath Yatra, we consider it appropriate in the interest of the public health and safety of citizens who are devotees to restrain the respondents from holdingthe Rath Yatra this year. Article 25 of the Constitutin of Inda itself confers the right to freely profess and propagate religion subject to health.

We accordingly direct that there shall be no Rath Yatra anywhere in the temple town of Odisha or in any other part of the State this year.

We further direct that there shall be no activities secular or religious associated with the Rath Yatra during this period.

In a prompt meeting in the evening, the Orissa Cabinet has resolved to abide by the Order,

Our stand finds support in steps taken by State-level scribes

Subhas Chandra Pattanayak

Orissa Government’s de facto destruction of the accredited journalists’ entitlement to have access to sources of information in the secretariat (Lok Seva Bhawan) and other headquarters offices has been strongly condemned by the community of scribes in a silent demonstration before the State Information Centre (Renamed Jayadev Bhawan) on June 17, before submition of a formal “request” to the Chief Minister to withdraw the mischivous secret order that “hinders” entry of the media persons into the headquarters office of the government.

Our observation on this blatantly illegal behaviour of the Government deserves deep cogitation at this critical moment. Below is the link:

Orissa in Dark//Worst-ever infringement of Freedom of Press

The Chief Minister ought to understand that freedom of Press is the mainstay of democracy and any political attempt to do away with it would never be tolerated.

Orissa in Dark//Worst-ever infringement of Freedom of Press

Subhas Chandra Pattanayak

“Keeping in mind the personal safety and health of media personnel and containment of any possible infection”, all media personnel are requested to abide by following advisories:
1. Media persons are requested not to visit the point of arrival i.e.railway station or check points.
2. Media persons are also requested not to visit the quarantine centre or isolation centre.”

With this mschivous order captioned “Advisory relating to return of stranded Odia people”, addressed to all the Print, Electronic, Web and Social Media Houses and all Accredited Correspondents, issued on 2.5.2020 has begun the most dangerous infringement of Freedom of Press in Orissa, in the guise of controlling COVID-19

Clandestine Order

Under oral orders from CMO, whose order it is nobody knows, the State level accredited journalists are denied entry into the Secretariat (Lok Seva Bhawan) by the Police guarding the gates, which is the worst ever arbitrary administrative attempt to quash Freedom of Press in Orissa. This is worse than what had happened during the declared emergency under Smt. Indira Gandhi.

During that period, we were subjected to censor. We were asked to submit our reports to the censor officer for clearance before publication. But we were never stopped from access to source of information. By denying us entry into the Secretariat, over and above the places mentioned in the quoted advisory, the government has debarred us from having access to source of information.

Worse than emergency

On March 18, the State Government promulgated ‘The Odisha COVID-19 Regulations 2020’. Under Section 4 thereof it stipulated: “No person/institution/organization will use print or electronic/social media for dissemination of any information regarding COVID-19 without ascertaining the facts and prior clearance of the DMET/DPH/DHS or Collector as the case may be. It will be treated as a punishable offence under these Regulations.

This Regulation was amended on April 3 to make it more rigorous. In section 4, it laid down:”No person / Institution / organization will use any print/ electronic/ social media for information regarding COVID-19 without prior permission of the DMET, DPH, DHS or Collector or Medical Superintendent as the case may be. This is to avoid spread of any unauthenticated information and/or rumors regarding COVID-19. If any person / Institution / organization is found indulging in such activity, it will be treated as a punishable offence under these Regulations and other provisions of Law.”

Thus, the Press is ordered to have “prior permission” to report on the disaster that affects the entire population of Orissa. This is worse than the emergency period inasmuch as prior permission to report any event was not required at that time. Even if there was any report on malfunctioning of government, there was no provision for punishment against any media person/media organisation for such report.

Go to Jail, Pay Penalty

If you fail to obey the Government orders while discharging your duties to democracy, you shall be punished like a criminal, the Govt. has told the journalists, which means, if you do not report as would be pleasing to the administration and displease the official functionaries by not suppressing the facts of misrule or maladies in governance, you shall go to jail and pay penalty.

This threat to journalists is discernible in the April 3 amendment of the COVID-19 regulation. The term “Other provisions of Law” added to Section 4 of the Regulation means cash penalty and incarceration as stipulated in the The Epidemic Diseases (Amendment) Ordinance 2020 promulgated in amending the Epidemic Diseases Act, 1897. When the Act had provided for simple imprisonment for a term which may extend to one month or with fine which may extend to two hundred rupees, or with both, the Ordinance has imposed imprisonment up to two years or with a fine of up to Rs 10,000 or with both. This torturing Ordinance is the “Other provisions of Law” the journalists are threatened with in the amended Regulation, quoted supra.

History of anti-Press attitude

The present regime is marked for its anti-Press attitude. The following articles throw enough light on this –

Let not Accreditation be a Fantoccini Farce

Status of 87 % Journalists in Orissa under diminution

Anarchy in accreditation: Govt. pretermits Assemby, obliterates journalists’ participation

Press accreditation fracas in Orissa

And, lastly has come this secret instruction from the CMO to deny the accredited journalists access to sources information for reporting on governance, which is the primary duty of the Press.

What is accreditation?

The Government of Orissa has defined accreditation in the following words:

“Accreditation” means recognition of Representatives of News Media Organisations by the Government of Orissa for the purpose of access to sources of information in the Government and also to news materials, written or pictorial, released by, or on behalf of the Director of Information & Public Relations and/or other agencies of the Government of Orissa.

Admittance without any hindrance

According to the Press Council of India accreditation is:

“Recognition granted to Correspondents/Editors of Media organisations (as defined in sub clause iv) to have access to news materials, written and pictorial; to offices and officers of the Government at the Headquarters and other centres for gathering news; access for laws, rules, notifications, press releases, background papers, etc. of the activities of the government; for invitations and admittance without any hindrance to functions, press conferences, statutory events and other activities of the government; facilities in terms of travel, research, documentation, etc. relating to news-gathering.

It is sad that the Government of Orissa, instead of ensuring for the accredited journalists admittance in to the Secretariat, to offices and officers of the Government at the Headquarters and other centres for gathering news without any hindrance, is causing hindrance under oral orders of the CMO.

Will the CM please personally look into and nullify this worst sort of infringement of Freedom of Press?

Oriya Language created Orissa and therefore Orissa must be ruled by Oriya Language

Subhas Chandra Pattanayak

Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik seems to have developed a wrong notion that governance of Orissa in Oriya depends upon his mercy. His press-note of December 17 and full page display advertisement in major broadsheets of today force us to arrive at this apprehension.

In his December 17 press note it was declared that he had held a meeting with the five members of the ministerial committee on that day for the purpose of “strictly implementing the Orissa Official Language Act, 1954 in official and non-official level” to facilitate which a website has been floated by the government. In the full page multi-color advertisement in broadsheet dailies today, this is intriguingly missing.

The advertisement is designed to tell the people that Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik has taken historical steps to save and develop Oriya language, and has enumerated the steps he has taken. This is blatant lie. Neither he nor his government has executed any single item claimed to be “historical” in the official advertisement. The entire advertisement is nothing but false propaganda. What a shame it is, that, the people of Orissa are taken for granted by their Chief Minister! Read more →

Navakalevara: Legends and reality

Subhas Chandra Pattanayak

Legends are the most misguiding mischief aimed at superimposing lies on reality so that indigenous people of an occupied land are kept too dazzled to see the dark face of the rulers and the class of exploiters can keep its victims subjugated to its authority, while forcing them to forget the heroic history of evolution of their own philosophy of life, their own splendid spiritual realizations, their own socio-economic uniqueness, their own ancient culture, their own valorous past, their own way of social integration and their own civilization.

We see this mischief galore in the context of Navakalevara of SriJagannatha.

So, here, we are to rip apart the legends and bring the reality of the Navakalevara to light, as thereby alone we can reach the lost uniqueness of the people of Orissa.

We will use Puri Sankaracharya’s self-proclaimed authority over Navakalevara to proceed with our purpose.

  Read more →

Samaja in Maze of Forgery: Two former Ministers of Orissa – Lingaraj Mishra & Radhanath Rath forged the WILL of Gopabandhu; Both benefitted till their death; SoPS continues to Loot

Subhas Chandra Pattanayak

The Oriya daily SAMAJA founded by late Utkalmani Pandit Gopabandhu Das, to which, out of their love and reverence for the great humanitarian leader, the people of Orissa had and have been giving their financial and moral support, is in a menacing maze of forgery and loot.

Sadly, two of Gopabandhu’s trusted men – Lingaraj Mishra and Radhanath Rath – who, because of being known so, had the opportunity of becoming cabinet ministers in Orissa, were the masterminds and/or makers of the forgery from which the paper is yet to be salvaged.

Both of them – Lingaraj and Radhanath – had partnered with each other in forging the last WILL of Gopabandhu to grab the Samaja, which being Gopabandhu’s paper was of superb credibility and the greatest political instrument of the day. They had performed this crime behind the screen of and in nexus with Servants of the People Society (SoPS), of which, while breathing his last, Gopabandhu was the Vice-President. Read more →