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Monday, June 09, 2014  

Nuapada goes lawless in night

"There are many rumours flowing in the air. They may be rumours, as the district police believes, but they agitate the minds of innocent villagers of Orissa's Nuapada district and insist them to guard their villages being armed with lathis, swords, Spears or other arms. The villagers are so panicked that they immediately attack people seen in the vicinity in the night. Even, as described by many of the local people, in some incidents people of the same village who came out for some reason in the night were beaten by the other villagers who were guarding in the night."

Basudev Mahapatra

   

Known to be a drought prone district, Orissa’s Nuapada is now facing a situation where common people are taking law into their own hands after the evening. Movement across the district comes to a halt since evening and people have become suspicious to any outsider even in the day time. Nobody is believed for whatever reason he/she visits a village. Each and every village, the markets and towns, the whole district is in the panic of a different kind of dacoits who have not been seen by people but are believed to be robbers who also rape and torture female women and teenagers in the family.

There are many rumours flowing in the air. They may be rumours, as the district police believes, but they agitate the minds of innocent villagers of Nuapada district and insist them to guard their villages being armed with lathis, swords, Spears or other arms. The villagers are so panicked that they immediately attack people seen in the vicinity in the night. Even, as described by many of the local people, in some incidents people of the same village who came out for some reason in the night were beaten by the other villagers who were guarding in the night.

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.

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