Nuagaon: Nayagarh district is recently witnessing cases being resolved at village- level meetings with kangaroo courts increasing at a rapid rate. This development suggests that people are losing faith in the police and legal system.
Getting disputes solved through kangaroo court seems to be the order of the day in this district. In case any disagreement occurs anywhere in the district, the matter is resolved through village-level meetings. If anyone is found guilty he/she is accordingly punished.
Among the sentences handed over are banishment from the village or holding the alleged offenders in captive and asking them to pay a substantial sum of money to village committee.
Most of the persons against whom the village committees give the verdict comply.
In most cases, those who have been ‘punished’ do not to seek police help. There are two reasons for that. First there will be repercussions within the village itself and secondly they are afraid of being mentally and physically tortured by the police.
This indicates that the understanding between the police and people is on the decrease. In order to get them closer, the ‘Ama Police’ programmes are being conducted at regular intervals in the villages. However, it seems to have no or little effect on the villagers.
Investigations have revealed that a family of Jharana village under Durddura panchayat in Nauagaon block has been harassed continuously as per the decision of a kangaroo court. Similarly, Yudhisthir Nayak of Odakapa village of Singarapalli panchayat has been banished from the village for the last two years after the verdict of such a court.
Among others Santosh Sahu of Mahitama village of Korada panchayat and two families of Karadapalli and Kendubania villages of Jakeda panchayat are living in precarious conditions due to verdicts of such courts.
However, sarpanchs of some villages are asking people to approach the people to solve disputes. “We have been conducting meetings in villages wherein we are asking people to go to the police for any kind of help, instead of solving them through village-level meetings,” said Malisahi sarpanch, Parshuram Swain.
Some villagers said that the ‘Ama Police’ programme should be held at villages for the police to get some results. “Ama Police programmes are only held at police stations. It should be conducted at different villages to bring them nearer to the people,” observed Patitapaban Sahu, an educationist of Nuagaon village.
When contacted, Nuagaon inspector in- charge Manorama Mallick said, “To harass or banish someone from his/her village as per the decision at a village meeting is injustice. We have been creating awareness among the people against holding kangaroo courts through our programme ‘Ama Police’. Even after that people are taking the law into their hands,” she observed.