In early April this year, an alleged gang-rape of an Odia woman in Delhi shook the Odisha Assembly.Promptly, Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik directed the DGP Prakash Mishra to follow up with his Delhi counterparts in his matter.The ruling BJD MLAs vociferously condemned the Congress Government in Delhi in this regard.Pramila Mallick, the President of the BJD women’s wing Biju Mahila Janata Dal (BMJD) took out a candle light procession demanding immediate arrest of the culprits.She even went to Delhi and met the Delhi Police in this regard.But unfortunately, three gruesome alleged rapes have taken place within the last one month in Odisha but not once are the BJD MLAs found condemning the incidents nor are Pramila Mallick and the BMJD on the streets expressing solidarity with the alleged rape victims.Is it selective amnesia on the part of BJD party leaders or a fear that condemning this incident would expose the inefficiency of their own leader Naveen Patnaik and his ineffective governance in Odisha.Naveen was quick to condemn the Nirbhaya gang-rape in Delhi and rightly so.But when rapes have become an order of the day in Odisha, he prefers to keep mum.Naturally for him in Odisha the law will take its own course or none at all, for all he cares.
On 5th June this year a gruesome rape and murder of a thirteen year old visually impaired girl took place in Puri district in Odisha.The girl was abducted while sleeping outside her house at Beladal village of Puri district and taken to the Puri-Konark Marine Drive road and raped according to reports.It is also reported that probably later the accused tried to strangulate her and then forced an iron rod inside her private parts.And the victim girl bled to death as a result of the grievous injuries sustained in the brutal assault.Another Nirbhaya passed away under the watch of the BJD Government, unsung.No candles burnt for her, not a single BJD MLA or their CM batted an eyelid.Naturally Puri is far away from Delhi.Ultimately who bothers if a Nirbhaya in Puri passes away? Scoring brownie points in Delhi is far lucrative for the BJD dispensation.
On 17th June 2013, a twenty seven year old tribal woman was allegedly raped in a moving bus while she was travelling from Mayurbhanj to Cuttack in Odisha.This incident brings chills of a similar bus incident of Nirbhaya in Delhi.But while Naveen was quick to raise alarm on the incident in Delhi, he prefers to look the other way when questions are cast about this incident in Odisha.Naturally for a politician whose governance deficit is a gnawing divide, answers to such questions are not easy.
About a month back a fifteen year old minor tribal girl of Dhangergudi village, close to Chhattisgarh border, under Kinjirkela police limits in Sundargarh district of Odisha was kidnapped and gang raped a month back according to reports.The Kinjirkela OIC Bhagawat Nayak informed that the girl was forcibly taken to a nearby forest area, gang-raped and left at the spot.The Naveen Patnaik Government boasts of tribal empowerment but prefers to remain silent when heinous crimes are perpetuated on them.No words of compassion or condemnation follows.
These unsung and unheard Nirbhayas of Odisha do not make news headlines.When no one remembers the Nirabhayas like Sasmita Mallick and Bebina Behera over passage of time, naturally these three Nirabhayas will also be forgotten as footnotes in the sands of time as the ruling BJD Government would continue to have the luxury to indulge in slumber and sleep.