Statesman News Service
JAJPUR, Jan. 25. — The Naveen Patnaik government, which has gone on a overdrive to try and please agitating tribals of Kalinga Nagar, inched towards achieving a breakthrough to the over three-week long deadlock today by facilitating the bail of arrested tribal Mr Rabindra Jarika.
Under intense pressure from all quarters including the ally BJP, the state government had announced several sops to affected tribals following the 2 January police firing in which 12 tribals and a constable were killed. But the relentless tribals continued with their road blockade and paralysed the district administration drawing international attention. Yesterday first signs of resolution came about with a delegation of tribal leaders accepted the invitation from district authorities to attend a peace committee meeting.
Their demand for immediate withdrawal of cases against tribals connected with the resistance to displacement movement and release of their leader Rabindra Jarika was taken up.
Today, the bail petition of Mr Jarika was heard and the government did not oppose it resulting in grant of conditional bail. The district administration was hoping that the tribals will lift the road blockade today .
A grand reception for Mr Jarika was planned by the tribals but the release formalities could not be completed before evening. The tribal had as many as four cases slapped against him much prior to the 2 January violence. He was arrested from Bhubaneswar when he had gone to attend a meeting.
Meanwhile, former MP and tribal leader of Jharkhand Mr Salkan Murmu arrived in Kalinga Nagar today. Trucks carrying relief material also reached the area. The relief material was reportedly sent by the CPI (ML).
The state government is continuing to go out of the way to woo the tribals and certain unprecedented steps like personal contacts are being used as the chief minister is reportedly desperate to end the crisis before the Assembly session and also visit Kalinga Nagar as soon as possible.
While steps were taken to ensure release of Mr Jarika, cases registered against others will soon be withdrawn, said reliable sources here. In another related development, three tribal organisations including the Adivasi Mahasabha leader and MLA Mr Laxman Munda told reporters in Bhubaneswar today that they will spread the Kalinga Nagar agitation to other parts of the state and neighbouring areas of Jharkhand, Chhatisgarh and West Bengal. “Since the issue is that of broader one relating to land rights of tribals and displacement policy we want to make it a national issue,” he said