While the women accompanied by the former BJD chairman Junesh Pradhan were going to discuss the matter
with Manoj Swain, the police lathi-charged the women.
the attack by C.R.P.F. jawans, Victoria Pradhan was wounded in the head and
chest. Many other women were also critically wounded. When Junesh Pradhan and
Manoj Swain opposed the act of assaulting women, the police offered the lame
excuse that the protesters started throwing stones first. “The inquiry into the
matter was suppressed,” deplores Junesh Pradhan.
Elderly women like Nimojini Pradhan and Siki Pradhan say, “We were
discussing the issue with B.D.O. Manoj Swain and Junesh Pradhan. While
sitting on the road, the police chased and beat us. They falsely accused
us of throwing stones and injuring a policeman on the head. Junesh babu
and we demanded that they produce the constable whose head had been
injured. Why didn’t the police produce the constable? In the name of
Naxals we are being persecuted. If someone fetches electric wires for
use at home, police call him a Naxal, send him to jail and torture him.
Taking advantage of situation, some people even bribe the police with
mutton and chicken to settle personal scores on villagers with whom they
have got some dispute or enmity. They file false complaints with the
police and the opponents are branded Naxals by police and are sent to
Chandrika Nayak: A case in point
One day C.R.P.F. jawans entered the village, Bagadi when a volleyball
match was being played in the village. It was about 10 or 11 o’clock in
the morning. The police summoned some men from the volleyball field.
They picked them up and took them to Daringbadi Police Station. They let
go off the three of them midway. Jagannath and Sujit Pradhan were taken
to the Police Station.
“We went to the police station to enquire as to why they had been
detained in jail as they were not Naxals. You brought them to police
station for some work and promised to leave them after it was over. Now
you are calling them Naxals,” said Chandrika while explaining the
Sujit Pradhan was released after two days at the police station while
Jagannath was sent to jail.
Chandrika is nearly 40 and Jagannath is about 50 years old. They have
two sons. One of them is a student of class 10 in school while the other
is in +2 final years. They are not pursuing their education any further
due to financial problems. Chandrika works as a labourer to meet the
needs. The two children have left for the city to work as bonded
labourers. All their earnings are spent in meeting the expenses in the
court cases of Jagannath.
“Whenever I go to meet Jagannath in jail, he requests me to make the
children study hard. He doesn’t know that his two children are now
labourers in the city and it is with their money that we are fighting
his court cases. We have no land of our own. So how do we sustain
ourselves?” says a grieving Chandrika.
Even today looking for a reply to her basic question, what a Naxal is,
Chandrika goes on asking further - “Why was Jagannath taken by the
police to jail? He did not beat up anyone!”
Now, after so much pain and torment Chandrika’s death does not seem far
away and the future of their children is shrouded in darkness. “If ever,
Jagannath returns to find me gone and the children half-educated then it
is the police who are responsible for all the mishap occurred to us,”
Chandrika goes around the village babbling like a demented woman. Now
the question arises, if the obvious revolt in the minds of Chandrika’s
two sons motivate them to take up guns then are not the police
administration and the government machinery as a whole responsible for
that? Everybody should understand the cry of despair of the children for
release of their innocent father.
It is not the case of Chandrika’s two sons only. This is the pathetic
story of many in most of the villages in this area.
[Bibhuti Pati is an investigative Journalist from
Other articles in
the series are:
Daringbadi: Police behaviour is further Unlawful than Outlawed Naxals
In Odisha's Conflict Zone: Evils use Police and
Naxals, Innocent Suffer