Statesman News Service

JAJPUR, Feb. 24. — The executive committee of the Bisthapan Virodhi Janamanch, spearheading the tribal agitation at Kalinga Nagar, today formally rejected the Home Department’s offer for negotiations.
The nine-member committee met to dismiss the offer as a hogwash. “The government has no sincerity in solving the problems of tribals and it has not addressed even a single issue raised by us to pave the way for talks, stated the committee.”

Taking exception to the fact that the Home Department had issued a letter in response to their missive to the chief minister, the Janamanch leaders said they want the chief minister to reply to them directly without any intermediaries.

“We expect the chief minister to agree to hold discussions with us on political issues as well as other related matters, we wanted the chief minister to suspend the DM, SP and ADM and to withdraw all cases instituted against agitating tribals. This would have paved the way for talks but nothing related to these demands figure in the Home Department’s letter,” they said.

“Suspension is not a punishment as per government rules and after all three doctors have been suspended for severing palms of dead tribals,” they pointed out wondering why the government was protecting IAS and IPS officers.

Rejecting the contention that they would have to wait for the judicial probe to submit its report, the Janamanch leaders said doctors were suspended without any probe report and on the basis of prima facie. The same should be applied to the DM and SP , more so as they are in a position to tamper with evidence.
Similarly, decrying the government’s reaction to demand for the return of the severed palms, the executive committee said: “Now that the 12 dead have been identified as there is absolutely no basis in the argument that one had to wait for the human rights commission report on the issue before returning the palms to the bereaved families.” “Such bureaucratic reactions and offer for talks couched in a language that does not make any sense as far as our demands are concerned reflects the fact that the government is least bothered about tribals and the road blockade since 2 January,” they alleged.