tribal man yielding mustard and 'ragi' to make his livelihood, was
accused by the police of being a Naxal and sent to jail.
Barsu’s 70 year old parents went to the Daringbadi Police station, wept
and begged before the police and CRPF jawans, but it was all in vein.
The heartless police did not allow Purbamayee to meet her husband.
Purbamayee spent two days lying on the veranda of the police station
and, finally, went back home.
While leaving, however, Purbamayee warned that she would give a fitting
reply to this illegal confinement of her husband.
Purbamayee filed a suit of defamation against the police for their
unjust actions. Local lawyer Manoj Panda handled the case and filed a
case of defamation and sought compensation of Rs. 2 lakhs. Purbamayee
also appealed for Barsu’s release. Finally, truth, justice and
righteousness prevailed. Purbamayee got a compensation of Rs. 1 lakh and
Barsu was released on bail.
Remembering those hard days, Purbamayee says “I used to labour for 30
days to save enough money to visit Barsu. I mortgaged a plot of land to
meet the expenses related to the case. Me and my five children sustained
ourselves on gruel water or even went hungry. When we don’t get enough
food for ourselves throughout the year, how could we give rice and ragi
to the Naxals? On the basis of such lies, the police arrested my
Purbamayee’s charges are further grave when she says, “The police know
the sarpanchs and the contractors who give money and rice to Naxals,
then why are they spared? My brother-in-law Sanathan and Ghasiram
confiscated the rice of the Gadapur Sarpanch. Where was this rice going?
When this question was asked, the police staged a fake encounter to gun
them down. We are being tortured between the police and the Naxals.”
In the battle between the police and Naxals, the happiness and joy of
many innocent men are being eclipsed, just as the case of Barsu and
Jagannath. Powerful persons and the police are using laws unlawfully and
misusing their powers to put na´ve villagers in jails.
A big challenge before the police is to identify and trace the Naxals,
to differentiate, confront and isolate them from the ordinary villagers.
To counter these successfully, the police have not been able to form any
definite plan and programme. They conduct flag marches only during day
time and put villagers in police stations on charge of being Naxals and
torture them. By doing this they only enrage the villagers and the
problem gets compounded.
Many a time, owing to prejudice, even many well-known persons of the
villages are sent to jail. A member of the ruling party, Biju Janata Dal
(BJD), the former Chairman Junesh Pradhan has been sent to jail only to
be released on bail. The twice-elected Sarpanch, Pradip, of the Congress
party was sent to jail on the assumption of being a Naxal. At certain
places, the corrupt local police have sent poor people to jail accusing
them of being Naxals.
Political rivalry, dispute over land and skirmish between villagers are
used as a ruse by some evil persons to incite the police to send
innocent people to prison by terming them as Naxals. Similarly, some are
informing the Naxals about the names of their rivals by calling them
police informers to settle personal scores. Either way, the peace loving
tribal becomes the target of the reds or the Khakis. These things need
to be sorted out. The reign of terror unleashed by the CRPF jawans and
the police are not the solutions to the problem, says social activist
Kailash Dandapath, as well as some Christian priests, under conditions
[Bibhuti Pati is an
Investigative Journalist from Odisha.]
Other articles in the series are:
Daringbadi: Police behaviour is further Unlawful than Outlawed Naxals
Conflict in Odisha: Innocents suffer between Naxals and predator Police