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On dated 25.07.2016 at about 11:00 a.m. the Marketing Inspector (M.I.) of Salepur Block area namely Himanshu Bhusan Sahoo and another person namely Sania Swain, a local grassroots politician, both of them came to the victim’s house and called the victim’s husband namely Jayadev Mallik. Jayadev was not present at home and Kaushalya Mallik asked, why they were searching for her husband. She told whether there was any work with him. They said that they had come to carry out enquiry for issuance of ration cards. Further they said that their ration card will be cancelled as they have a building. Then the victim said the government has made provision for the SC & ST people why they will cancel the ration card. Suddenly the prime accused i.e. Marketing Inspector Himansu Bhusan Sahoo said “Pana Paluni bi Sarakari Yojna bisayare Janileni, Chhan Gandire Kila Pasigale card nei pheri dei asibe. Paluninka budhi Hajijiba.” (Men and women from Pana caste have known about government schemes. They themselves will return the ration card when they will be taken to task) (The sentences were derogatory with respect to use of caste name, as well as use of obscene language)
The victim was shocked to hear such language from a government servant. Her sister in law was also present. The victim asked, “Why you are talking in such language?” The M.I. and his accompany moved without paying heed to her question.
The victim Kaushalya Mallik lodged a written complaint in the nearby Police Station. But the complaint was not registered as FIR. The complainant and her husband were pressurized to compromise and withdraw the complaint. She was advised by us to send a petition to the Suptd. Of Police, Cuttack, this was sent through registered post on 1.8.16. Still the FIR was not registered. Then a second petition was drafted by us and the victim met the S.P., Cuttack personally on 16.9.16. Basing on the intervention of the S.P. the FIR was registered on 29.9.16.
Despite all these, the investigation of the case did not follow; neither arrest nor relief was taken up. The victim complained repeatedly with us. Finally a detailed fact finding was done on 4.2.17.
Nuapatana is a hamlet village under revenue village Goruala which is also a Gram Panchayat consisting of 7 hamlet villages. There is the tradition of electing President of the village who is also known as President of Sata pada (7 hamlets). The president takes decision in case of any dispute and all the villages are expected to abide by it.
The number of families living in the main village is approximately 1000 households whereas in Nuapatana hamlet village, it is almost 100 households. Out of 100 households, there are 19 families from Dhoba Caste, 45 households from Khandayat Caste, 25 households from Gola Caste, 10 households of Kumbharas, 2 families each from Gouda & Gudia Caste and 1 family from Kandara Caste.
The Dhoba Caste persons, although are engaged in other activities and jobs do profess their Caste profession of washing clothes. They render service to entire Satapada (7 hamlets). A natural drainage (water body) passing-by Nuapatana has been developed into 6 big ponds. 5 of the ponds are enjoyed by the advanced Caste persons and used for fisheries; the smallest pond was allotted by the village Committee of Sata Pada to the Dhobis in order to provide them a place for washing ghat. The allotted pond was called “Dhoba khala”. The dalits cleaned and developed the pond and a project for construction of washing Ghat was sanctioned by the local MLA under LAD fund. The dalits arranged the site for construction of washing ghat. The advanced Caste people gathered in a meeting on 30th evening and attacked the dalit sahi at about 10 PM.
It is evident that untouchability is practiced by the advanced Caste persons of Nuapatana. The dalits are not allowed to go the village temple. Utensils for cooking village feast were purchased from the common village fund but it was not given to the dalits for use. The dalits are not allowed to use Govt tube well baring just one which is earmarked for their Sahi. The produce from the common resource properties are not shared with dalits. All though dalits contributed with money and labour for plantation of coconut tree, development of ponds, they are not given share. The dalits are subjugated and treated as second class citizens. For each and every small incident they are scolded with filthy language and humiliated with their Caste name.
The dalit have reported many incidents of torture and atrocities to the local police and administration. Two of the complaints were registered as FIR No 190 dated 30.7.2016 under section 294, 34, of IPC and 3of SC & ST PoA Act and as FIR No 309 dated 14.12.2016 under sections 294, 323, 506, 341, 34, of IPC and 3 (i) (r) (s) of SC & ST PoA Act.
On 30.05.2017 night the advanced Caste persons joined together as unruly mob and attacked the dalits with weapons. They broke open doors of houses, destroyed televisions sets, electric meters, cut down standing trees, cut appart cement bags, looted crop sacks, articles, valuables & set on fire one thatched house, sexually assaulted women and created terror in the dalit Sahi. 7 dalits have sustained injuries. Written complaint was filed about the occurrence with the Police and FIR No 150 was registered on 31.05.2017 under sections 147, 148, 341, 323, 452, 427, 379, 354-A, 345-B, 439, 149, 294, of IPC and 3(i) (r) (s) (w) (2) (va) of SC & ST PoA Act.
Kumarpur is a village in Kumarpur GP under Gurudijhatia Police Station in Cuttack district. The village consists of 30 families each from Pana & Bauri Caste, 8 Dhoba families (all from SC category), 12-14 families from Sabar (Saar) community (ST Category), 10-15 families of Brahmins, 30-35 families of Chasa Caste, 30 families from Sundhi and few Gouda & Bania families. The Brahmins are affluent families almost all families have Government employees. But the SC families are mostly poor, daily labourers and rickshaw pullers. Among the dalits (SCs) there are 7-10 matriculates and one person has passed +2. Nearly 15 families are homestead less and 5 persons in different lowly placed Government jobs.
There is untouchability and Caste Based Discrimination (CBD) in the village. The dalits are barred from entering into Grama Devati temple. The system of separate tea cups/ glasses for dalits in the tea /Tiffin shop is prevalent. The Dhoba caste persons serve the advanced caste persons under bondage but not the dalits. They do not dine in the feast organised by other dalit castes.
It is politically sensitive village as Sri Ranjan Acharya, Ex-Chairman, Athagarh Block hails from this village (Kumarpur Sasan). The dalits of the village are mostly rickshaw pullers at Cuttack. On 11.04.2017 at about 7 AM when the dalits were starting off for Gurudijhatia Railway Station, they were obstructed by the general caste people. It was followed by pelting of stone and bottle. By 11 am it was full-fledged mass attack. The advanced caste persons assaulted the dalits with various weapons and burnt their houses putting petrol & other inflammable liquid on to it. By this 12 houses were burnt and 5 persons sustained grievous injuries.
written complaints were filed by both the parties at Gurudijhatia P.S.Three complaints filed by dalits were registered as FIR No. 58 u/s 341, 336, 427, 452, 323, 380, 294, 34 of IPC & 3(1)(c)(t)(w)(2)(va) of SC&ST PoA Act, FIR No. 60 u/s 147, 148, 341, 294, 506, 436, 324, 149, of IPC & 3 (1)(r)(s)(2)(va) of SC&ST PoA Act and FIR No. 61 dated 12.04.2017 u/c 147, 148, 341, 324, 506, 436, 427, 149, of IPC & 3 (1)(r)(s)(2)(va) of SC&ST PoA Act. At the same time seven FIRs were registered against dalits complained by advanced caste persons.
It was learnt that the prime cause of the attack was voting in last Panchayat elections. In that election Dipak S/o Ranjan Acharya was the Sarapanch Candidate. The dalits did not vote in favour of Dipak which gave rise to the animosity.
The victim Anupama Sethi is a Social activist. She is active to fight corruption, stop liqueur etc. She had intervened in a developmental work of her village. Funds were sanctioned for construction of cement concrete road. One contractor who claims to be worker of the ruling party was planning to execute the project. But with Anupama,s intervention the road was constructed by other group leaving aside the said contractor.
For this the accused went to Anupama’s house on 25.04.2017, abused her with filthy language with her caste name and sexual in nature, and threatened her with dire consequences. She filed written complaint in Kujanga Police Station which was registered on 28.04.2017 as F.I.R. No. 67. In her complaint Pratima Sethi, W/o Prasanta Sethi was the witness who deposed before Police.
On 25.04.2017 night the accused had altercation with Prasanta Sethi. Again on 27.04.2017 late night the accused entered into house of Prasanta by breaking open the door. He abused verbally and sexually assaulted Pratima. He also threatened to murder Prasanta. This was reported in the Police Station on 28.04.2017 but the police was hesitant in registering F.I.R. Finally FIR No. 68 was registered on 30.04.2017.
The attack on Pratima Sethi is said to be due to her relationship with Anupama Sethi and her statement before Police regarding the incident of attack on Anupama on 25th April.
Jitarani Behera, aged about 25 years is a student continuing B.Ed. course under an institution at Srikakulam in Andhra Pradesh. She passed B.A. from B.S. College, Chandikhol in 2012. In 2015 she consulted Sri Dusmanta Nayak, a clerical staff of B.S. College and was motivated to join B.Ed. Debendra Mishra, Lecturer in the College took Rs.40000/- Cash in July 2015 and later Rs.40000/- was deposited in an Axis Bank Account by the victim in two instalments. After that Debendra Mishra demanded Rs. 50000/- more at the time of “Form Fill up” for examination. The victim requested to reduce the course fees and to give her some concession. The accused told her to go to the institution at Srikakulam and meet the authorities for relaxation in fees. He informed that there is hostel facility for such student where she would stay.
On 21/11/2015 Debendra Mishra and the victim proceeded to Srikakulam. There was no hostel facility. She was kept in a lodge and the accused went away. At about 10PM he came back and said no other accommodation was available for him. Although the victim did not agree, he stayed in the same room with the victim that night. During that night the accused sexually assaulted the victim and tried to rape her. The victim protested strongly and ran out of the room and spent the rest of the night in the waiting hall. She was carrying Rs. 20000/- with her for the fees which was taken by the accused. Next day she came back Odisha, but did not lodge any Police Complaint out of fear.
The protest by the victim frightened the accused slightly but soon he became more aggressive as the victim did not make any Police complaint then. He made sexual approaches at various times which the victim ignored. He also telephoned and threatened to go to Cuttack and stay with him at night, also to pay him another Rs. 30000/- otherwise, he would see that she failed in B. Ed. Examination or her certificate would not be returned.
On 13.1.2017 at about 7:45PM the accused called the victim over phone to come to Kundala Chhak (A small market place near the victim’s village) to take back the certificates. When she reached the chhak the accused told her to come with him to Cuttack for the certificates. She denied going to Cuttack which is nearly 55Kms away. The accused tried to drag her into the vehicle. As she continued to protest, she was slapped and pushed out to the vehicle and she fell down. By them other people present in the chhak rushed to the spot, caught hold of the accused and handed over to the Police.
The victim lodged a written complaint to Badachana Police Station which was registered as F.I.R. No. 156 date 14.10.2016. The accused was arrested. He was granted bail by Odisha High Court on 2.12 2016.
At present the victim complains that there is no progress in the case. Her B.Ed and other certificates have not been recovered and relief amount under the SC & ST PoA Act has not been paid to her. With this back ground, it was decided to undertake a detailed fact finding of the matter.