Jharsuguda: The State Assembly passed the Odisha Official Language (Amendment) Bill, 2018 making penal provisions for non-compliance and reward for extensive use of Odia by state government officials in official communication.
Former Law Minister Bikram Keshari Arukha had said the Odisha Official Language Act, 1954 was enacted for adoption of Odia as the language to be used for all or any of the official purposes in the state. However, Jharsuguda police have refused to honour this Act. The Badmal police have given a copy of an FIR to the complainant written bilingually — Hindi and English. Worse, not a single word in the four-page FIR, a copy of which is available with Orissa POST, given to the complainant is in Odia. Ironically, the complainant in question is a poor tribal with Odia being his mother tongue.
The police have intentionally done this to favour the defendant, which, in this case, is Vedanta company by keeping the contents of the FIR unintelligible to the complainant.
The case related to the forcible detention, torture of a tribal man by the security personnel of Vedanta at Bhurkamunda in Jharsuguda district.
Security guards of the company had abducted Bihari Oram, 55, of Banjari village under Badamal police limits in Jharsuguda district. They detained him inside the plant premises and allegedly tortured him physically and mentally for 15 days.
Dilip, his son, filed a written complaint against security officers Rajesh Yadav, Mukesh Divakar and Pandey of Vedanta plant at Badamal police station.
Police registered a case (171/21) under Sections 341, 342, 323, 294, 506, 34 of Indian Penal Code and SC & ST Act September 10 and started an investigation. Security officials of the company were detained and questioned. Badamal IIC Amitabh Panda said investigation is underway and action will be taken accordingly.
However, what has surprised many is the fact that police have given a copy of the FIR to the complainant in English and Hindi instead of Odia — the official language of our state and the mother tongue of the complainant.
Local intelligentsia said, Badamal police are hand in glove with Vedanta officials and are trying to bail them out of the case.
Bihari had been missing since August 25. Two days later, his son Dillip filed a complaint. Police registered a missing person’s complaint and started searching for Bihari, but failed to trace him.
However, a group of local women claimed they saw Bihari being taken away by Vedanta company security guards. Once this was known, villagers protested against the company. Scared plant guards dropped Bihari on the outskirts of his village September 9. Back home, he shard what had happened to him with his family.
Dillip, in his complaint, alleged that security guards of Vedanta had forcibly detained his father on the company premises and tortured him. His father was abused by security men. As a result, Oram has been physically and mentally exhausted.
In the complaint, Dilip stated if his father had done anything wrong, the company could have handed him over to police. “How come they would detain a man of tribal community for 15 days and torture him. As we are tribal people, the company has tortured us. I demand a thorough probe into the matter and action against the guilty,” Dilip said.
Pratyush Jena, information and public relations officer of Vedanta, said police had detained the chief security officer of the company for interrogation and later have set him free. The company is in no way involved in the incident, he added.