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Let Sabyasachi and Nachika return to mainstream

   

Last updated Wednesday July 06, 2016

  Sabyasachi Panda, Nachika Linga, Maoist, Conflict, Politics, Odisha  
 
In armed conflict, both sides lose and ‘who gains’ remains an unanswered question. Recently, the camps of Sabyasachi Panda were raided by Odisha police, some of his supporters arrested and arms recovered. It’s claimed by the police that Panda took a bullet on his body, but managed to escape. Police and armed forces continue their operation to nab Panda as a prize catch and resources of the state are fully engaged to support the operation against the Maoist leader.  

Basudev Mahapatra

 
 

Is Maoist leader Sabyasachi Panda joining Aam Admi Party (AAP)? The question has been reverberating in political circles for a while now.

Odisha in-charge of AAP, Lingaraj, says he has no information on this nor does he have knowledge of any such discussion between Panda and AAP.

Panda, a former CPI (Maoist) leader and now Secretary of the Odisha Maoisty Party, was reportedly trying for a ticket from BJD though there is no official confirmation about such a move from either side. But the talks apparently did not go too far because Panda was not willing to ‘surrender’, a condition imposed by the ruling party for his induction.

 

Notwithstanding the absence of ‘official’ word on it, however, such reports cannot be dismissed offhand because Sabyasachi’s father was a member of Odisha Legislative Assembly and, hence, it is possible that he has personal relationship with many leaders of mainstream political parties in the state.

While talking ‘on camera’ to some reporters who somehow managed to reach Panda’s camp deep in the forests, the Maoist leader has repeatedly made it clear that surrender is out of question. “Surrender means accepting the system of governance that has grossly failed in ensuring equity to the citizens as right, accepting that the position that you have held on to for so long was wrong.”

Panda has always preferred to live by his ideology in the forests with the oppressed and deprived people he fights for than compromise with it for personal gains like escaping death in the hands of police or the cadres of CPI (Maoist) believed to be looking for an opportunity to bump him off since he left the party. This has come out loud and clear during conversations the fugitive leader has had with the few media persons who have met him in his den, some of whom the author admires as journalists with the highest standards of professional ethics,

While in CPI (Maoist) Party, Panda claimed that his party killed Laxmanananda Saraswati, a Hindu religious leader. The murder of Saraswati led to prolonged communal violence in Kandhamal and tarnished the face of Odisha. Panda also faces charges of engineering attacks on the police station and armoury in Nayagarh apart from sedition and many other serious offences.

Still, personally, I welcome the initiatives, if they have really taken place, to bring Sabyasachi to the political mainstream. Dialogues and inclusion are any day a better option to armed action and have a better chance of effective resolution of conflict.

In armed conflict, both sides lose and ‘who gains’ remains an unanswered question. Recently, the camps of Sabyasachi Panda were raided, some of his supporters arrested and arms recovered. It’s claimed by the police that Panda took a bullet on his body, but managed to escape. Police and armed forces continue their operation to nab Panda as a prize catch and resources of the state are fully engaged to support the operation against the Maoist leader.

On the other hand, if police sources are to be believed, Sabyasachi is gathering strength – in terms of supporters and arms - in the forests. Isn’t the country losing if that indeed is the case?

The worst sufferers in the whole game have been the ordinary people who are sandwiched between threats from both parties engaged in the conflict. It’s quite obvious that the common people want to live in peace and the conflict to end.

In the other conflict zone of Narayanpatna in Koraput district, people’s representatives of Tentulipadar gram panchayat have appealed to the government, through a memorandum to the IIC of local police station, to drop all charges against Chasi Mulia Adivasi Sangh (CMAS) leader Nachika Linga and allow him to come to the mainstream and live a normal life.

A few days ago, Nachika told this author that he would contest an election only if his fellow tribal people want him to do so. Now the appeal made by the people’s representatives seems to be making way for Nachika to come to the mainstream of social and political life.

In my view, this must be seen as an opportunity. If Sabyasachi Panda and Nachika Linga are keen to come to the mainstream, the State must do everything it can to facilitate that. Naveen Patnaik had done extremely well in this regard in case of Jagabandhu Majhi, the late MLA from Umerkote. The same path needs to be followed in the case of Sabyasachi and Nachika too.

 
   
 

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