The panicked villagers take law into hands to protect their families and
the village from the robbers and have been attacking any person or
vehicle they trace in the night. By now many vehicles are attacked, many
innocent people have been injured by the people guarding their villages.
In Udyan Bandh of Nuapada, a motorcycle has been torched, private
vehicles attacked and many have been beaten. The Bolbam devotees were
also attacked when they were coming to the temples. “The thieves came
and robbed. But we faced the anger of people. We were termed and treated
like thieves by the villagers who almost scolded us and drove us out of
their villages when we wanted to take rest. Many of us were beaten and
were asked for identity later. This is the first time that we see people
so suspicious, so violent to other ordinary people”, said Khitish Kumar
Panigrahi, a Bolbam devotee from Khariar.
Such incidents are increasing everyday. It’s again shocking to realise
that nobody, no official, not even journalists working in the district
dare to come out once it’s evening. In fact, with incidents of attack
increasing day by day, they are afraid they may not be spared as well by
the panicked villagers.
As there have been a number of mishaps where people and vehicles have
been attacked and they have come to the notice of police and
administration, it becomes the primary duty of both police and
administration to intervene educate people not to take law into their
own hands. But, neither the police nor the administration have taken any
major initiative yet to restore faith of people on both of them. This
agitates the villagers further because they take the pain of working in
the day and guarding their village through the night and again go to
work the next day. “We know, such a trend has started since last 15
days. But, as the villagers want, we don’t have enough staff to guard
each and every village. However, we have started patrolling in some
places and informed the administration about it seeking its help in
pacifying the situation by educating people”, said Nuapada
Superintendent of Police Sanjay Kaushal.
The trend of patrolling by people armed with lathi and other arms have
now started in Nuapada market also. “We have no faith on police and the
administration. They are just doing nothing. We do not want such kind of
police where we have to spend sleepless nights to guard our village and
our family”, said Titu Panda, a resident of Nuapada.
In such a situation the worst victim would be a pregnant woman or a
serious patient in need of immediate medical treatment in the night.
They may be deprived of timely treatment because of the fear that grips
the whole district through the night. However, the district police
believes that the people would not be so cruel to stop such patients
from going to hospitals. “I don’t thing the people would be stopping
such cases while coming to hospitals. They must realise the emergency”,
said Superintendent of Police Sanjay Kaushal adding that, “the police
and the administration is planning to discuss with the PRI members and
educate them to pacify the situation”.
In reality, the whole district of Nuapada turns into a lawless district
in the night. If not addressed immediately, this would lead to a lot
more problems for the administration and the police making the situation
more complex to deal with.