Demoralising the security forces
The hostage drama is still going on. The abducted Italian Christian missionary Basusco Paolo and Jhina Hikaka, the MLA of Laxmipur Assembly constituency, are yet to be released from the clutches of the abductors. The State government has completely surrendered before the Maoists and it may go to any extend to accept any demand made by the Red rebels. The mediators who were recommended by the Naveen government for discussion have proved costly for the State. It can be concluded that the State government has been made to crawl on the dust, its attempts are being foiled.
Though one month is going to be completed since Paolo was abducted, the police, intelligence and specially trained Special Operation Group Commandos are sitting silent putting their hands in their pockets, why? Are they unable to trace the abductors while journalists are able to meet them and take their interviews? What is the reason, why the dialogue is not bearing any fruit in favour of the State? It will be worth mentioning to see first who are the mediators through whom the government sits for dialogue with Maoists, are they pro government or impartial? The two mediators Dr BD Sharma and Dandapani Mohanty both are known for their pro Maoist activities. Dandapani who happens to be the think tank of Red rebels has addressed the press on behalf of the Maoists a number of times. During mediation, none of the mediators did ever showed any interest towards the release of two hostages, rather they have not left any effort to put a pressure on the government to release some hard core Maoists who are in jails. Sabyasachi Panda demanded the release of his wife Mili Panda and some others from jail to ensure release of Paolo whereas the Telugu Maoists of Andhra Pradesh-Chhattisgarh cadre have demanded the release of hard core Maoist Ghasi and some others from jail to ensure release of the abducted MLA. The State government has almost accepted the proposals and agreed to set free about 18 hard core Maoists who are now in jails. Sabyasachi Panda’s wife Mili was arrested from the State capital Bhubaneswar where she was managing the works of the Red ultras. It is a fact that government did not make any effort to nab Mili Panda, but in a coincidence she was caught by police. Naveen government could not dare even to touch Mili Panda because Pyari Mohan Mohapatra is the family friend of Sabyasachi and Mili Panda. However the government did pay every attention towards Mili Panda so that each and every criminal case pending against her is thrown into air. That happened also in the past. The State booked Mili Panda under the stringent provisions of Unlawful Activities Prevention Act but knowingly discrepancies were made in the case of the prosecution for which the same could not stand in the court and quashed by the High Court. Similarly, the other criminal cases pending against Mili Panda in different courts are so ill managed by the State government that in none of the same the State is able to adduce evidence for which Mili is going to be acquitted from these cases shortly.
In such a situation if Mili Panda is discharged from the criminal cases against her, the State government will be put under moral pressure for preferring appeal in the higher forum. In order to avoid responsibility and to maintain good relationship with Maoists, the Naveen’s government has discovered a middle path i.e. to set Mili Panda free right now under shadow of hostage drama. On the other hand Dr. Sharma, one of the mediators surprisingly left discussion table and went to Andhra Paradesh to have a discussion with Telugu Maoist cadres regarding their demand. What is shocking is, sources say, the Maoists have demanded a huge amount of money and the State is going to pay the same to the Red ultras. It has become clear that Maoists want money from the government for release of the MLA and also from Church for release of missionary Bosusco Paolo. In the mean time Swarupanada Patra, the leader of the Church and Arch Bishop of Bhubaneswar have been discussing with Sabyasachi Panda for release of Paolo, the church man. Though involvement of Swarupananda Patra in Swami Laxamananada’s assassination and in case of murder of two RSS swayamsevaks in Kandhamal has been alleged by Hindu outfits, the government has not taken any step to prosecute Swarupananda Patra. Similarly, one retired IAS officer who happens to be a Member of the Parliament and key man of Church has been set free by the government, even there are allegations against him having hand in Swamiji’s murder (Organiser, January 11, 2009). He is a close friend of Pyari Mohan Mohapatra. It is matter of surprise that the said retired IAS officer has a printing press in Bhubaneswar wherein Church literatures and Maoist literatures are being printed. Naveen’s government has done nothing to prosecute him, alleges Shri Ashok Sahu, the State vice-president of BJP, who is an expert in Maoist matters.
It is unfortunate that Naveen’s government has accepted Maoist’s proposal to release hardcore ultras like Maoist leader Chenda Bhusan alias Ghasi who is an accused in more than 100 criminal cases including 65 cases of murder pending against him. The Maoist’s demand to release Ghasi in exchange of abducted MLA Jhina Hikaka and the government’s approval to the same has made the police fraternity dissatisfied. A police officer who was a member of a team of 15 police men while arresting Ghasi told “Ghasi should not be released at any cost. Any move to release Ghasi will demoralise the security men engaged in anti insurgency operations. If such hard core Naxals are arrested only to be released then anti-extremist operations must be stopped and Maoists be given a free hand to execute their offensives. Lots of intelligence work is done to arrest such hardcore rebels. We execute such operations by risking our lives. His release would pose a threat to our informers and also to our families. If government bows to Maoist pressure and releases Ghasi, police will feel frustrated”. The officer requests not to disclose his name. Now Ghasi is lodged in Koraput Jail and after his arrest his wife Puspa has surrendered before police.
However, it is apparent that the Naveen’s government has bowed down before Maoist ultras and started searching for unconventional ways to satisfy Communist terrorist which will create a bad precedent.