PUCL Bulletin, February 2005
Orissa PUCL press release
Writ petition on Maikanch firing
– By Pramodini Pradhan, Secretary, PUCL- Bhubaneswar Branch,
20 Dec., 2004
[See also, A fact finding report by Cuttack, Bhubaneswar and Rayagada units of PUCL
'Atrocity on the people of Kashipur'. Click ]
Bhubaneswar and Cuttack Units of PUCL have filed a writ petition in the Orissa High Court for actions against officials found guilty by the Justice P.K. Mishra Commission, which inquired into the incident of police firing of 16th December 2000 on the tribals protesting against the establishment of alumina plant in Kashipur area. The petitioners have appealed to the High Court to give directions to the government to initiate departmental actions as well as criminal proceedings against the police and administrative officials found guilty by the Commission of Inquiry.
The Commission in its report has made responsible Sri Prava Shankar Naik, OIC of Kashipur Police Station, for excessive use of force by making 19 rounds of firing, the then Superintendent of Police Sri Y. Jethua for his ‘overzealous’ and ‘imprudent’ actions by sending a Magistrate with a large requisition of police force to Maikanch village, which was unnecessary, to investigate into an earlier case of ‘theft’ and the incident of scuffling of the previous day, the DSP Sri K.N. Patnaik and Magistrate Sri G.C. Badjena for not exercising enough control on the police force and, Sri Subas Swain for provoking the confrontation by assaulting two tribal women in the village. Besides, the Commission has expressed its views that the very purpose of the police in going to Maikanch village was doubtful, it was unnecessary to resort to indiscriminate firing on the tribals when there was no provocation from their side, and the people were not given any warning to disperse before the firing.
Further, the Commission is of the view that the very FIR, on the basis of which the police claim to have gone to the village, has been manipulated later on to justify the firing. However, in spite of all these, the government has misled the public, as evident in its Action Taken Report placed in the Assembly, by saying that the Commission has justified the firing and has not made anybody responsible for it.
In the writ petition filed, PUCL has appealed to the High Court to direct the government (a) to initiate legal action against the police and administrative officials against whom prima facie materials are available on the basis of the report of the Inquiry Commission, (b) to entrust the criminal investigation part to the CBI for credible outcome of the investigation and (c) to recover the money paid towards compensation from the officials on pro rata basis.
It needs to be mentioned here that PUCL had organised a public discussion on the report of the Justice P.K. Mishra Commission and had written to the Chief Minister to take actions against the officials held responsible by the Commission for firing.
There was no response from the government. Even, when the report was placed in the Assembly, PUCL brought this to the notice of the leaders of the opposition and MLAs of other political parties. But there was no discussion on it in the Assembly. After all these PUCL decided to approach the Court for its intervention.
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