Missionaries and Maoists
THE Italian Missionary, Basusco Paolo, has been freed by the Maoists, almost 29 days after his abduction. With his release, the hostage drama has come to a concluding scene and the government feels optimistic for the release of legislator Jhin Hikaka, who is still in the grip of communist ultras based at Andhra Pradesh-Chhattisgarh border.
Is this a victory for the Naveen’s government? Has the government done anything unusual that forced the abductors to go on back-foot? No, not at all. The State government completely surrendered before Maoist Sabyasachi Panda’s demand for release of hardcore Maoist Mili Panda (wife of Sabyasachi) from jail. It can be said that missionary Paolo has been set free by the efforts of churchmen and not by the efforts of the State government.
However, in the course of entire abduction drama, it is clear that the Maoists are divided into many groups and Maoist leader of Odisha Sabyasachi Panda has been boycotted by his own caders. Missionary Basusco Paolo, who was abducted by Sabyasachi, after his release from Maoist camp, has given very vital information to police regarding Sabyasachi. As per sources, Sabyasachi Panda is facing a number of problems in and out of his organisation. There is a threat to his life from his rival Maoists and the gradual reduction of cadre strength has put Panda in panic. Apart from this, the present cader strength of Sabyasachi is estimated to be 22 caders with guns, out of which 10 are women. Sabyasachi is suffering from some illness and has become very weak. Paolo has disclosed that while he was with Sabyasachi, one night, a group of rival ultras had come to kill Sabyasachi, but they escaped somehow. If this information is analysed, it will be clear that Sabyasachi Panda is in trouble. His authority has been hijacked by Telugu Maoists. Then the question arises, why Naveen’s government is afraid of Sabyasachi who is so weak and ailing. It is a golden opportunity for the government to attack Sabyasachi and nab him, but why the government is avoiding? Naveen government’s weak-kneed approach is demoralising security forces deployed for checking Maoist operations.
Mili Panda (wife of Sabyasachi Panda) who is released by the government, has stated that she would join politics and her husband may surrender to join politics. Both Sabyasachi and his wife are said close to BJD. Sabysachi’s father was a communist and had later joined the BJD. His brother is already a leader of BJD at Ranapada in Nayagarh district. From Mili’s side, her father and mother are leaders of BJD. Her mother is an elected member of Nimapara Notified Area Council from BJD. Mili’s mother has stated in a press conference that Sabyasachi may join the BJD. This news was published in different vernacular media of the State. But surprisingly Naveen and Pyari Mohan Mohapatra are silent on it. Their silence speaks thousands words in affirmative in this regard.
Sabyasachi himself has said in an audio message sent to the government that he is not anti-BJD and he does not have hatred against the BJD men. This shows the reflection of bilateral understanding between the BJD and Sabyasachi Panda. On the other hand in the shadow of hostage drama, a platform is being created to ensure surrender of Sabyasachi Panda and his joining the ruling party. So far as internal division in Maoist organisation is concerned, Sabyasachi’s life is under serious threat and he may be killed by his own men at any point of time. In order to save his life, Sabyasachi has only one safest way out i.e. to surrender. The act of surrender for protection is not unprecedented in Maoist organisations. “For power and self-protection within the CPI (ML) there used to be squabbles among leaders like Satya Narayan Sinha and Vinod Mishra from Bihar, T Nagi Reddy, Kondapalli Seetharamaiah and Muppala Laxman Rao from Andhra Pradesh, Nagbhusan Patnaik and Bhuban Patnaik from Odisha with the central leadership in the party which was dominated by those from West Bengal. In 1971, the Chinese Government wanted the CPI (ML) to support Pakistan in ‘Bangladesh Liberation War’, which would have been suicidal for them. However, by 1972 the Congress government at the Centre with the help of USSR could use CPI (Marxist) to crack down on the CPI (ML) in West Bengal. The leaders in Andhra Pradesh and Odisha were also prosecuted for having waged a war against the State. Maoist Communist Centre (MCC) was formed under Kanhai Chatterjee’s leadership in 1975. It, under the banner ‘Dakshin Desh’, supported Naxalbari struggle but did not join CPI (ML) because of some tactical differences and on the question of the method of party formation. At that time, Maoist leaders like Kondapalli Seetharamaiah, surrendered to save his life. Hence Sabyasachi Panda’s surrender may not be ruled out,” says Shri Ashok Sahu, IPS ( Retd.) who is an expert in Maoist insurgency matters.
It is high time for the Naveen Government to take final action against Sabyasachi Panda.
Organiser impact: Government blacklists 214 NGOs
In an important, move first of this kind, the State Government has blacklisted 214 Non-Governmental Organisations (NGO) and stopped funds to 97 NGOs. As per the local media, it is the impact of news published in Organiser in its issue dated December 2, 2007 and April 8, 2012. Organiser first published this news, whereby it warned the State government to check mushrooming NGO activities, because it raised alarm that most of the NGO funds go to the Maoists.
The Department of Child Welfare has issued a notification in this regard, by which amongst others 42 NGOs in Dhenkanal district, 39 in Khurda, 31 in Puri, 7 in Keonjhar, 14 in Mayurbhanj, 4 in Nayagarh, 6 in Balasore, 8 in Sundergarh, 8 in Bolangir, 14 in Cuttack, 8 in Kendrapara, 3 in Ganjam, 13 in Jagatsinghpur, 2 in Nuapara, 4 in Bhadrak, 7 in Sambalpur have been blacklisted. But in Kandhamal district only one NGO has been blacklisted, which is a Christian NGO.
This step of the government is good one but in fact many big fish are still left from the government’s scanner. One such big fish is a NGO run by one missionary IAS friend of Pyari Mohan Mohapatra, which has very bad reputation for hand-in-glove with Maoists and its involvement in Swami Laxmanananda’s murder. This NGO has also been given a safe passage from the blacklist prepared by the government.