BHUBANESWAR: The Opposition on Thursday came down heavily on the State Government for the manner in which the hostage crisis was handled, even as it welcomed the release of BJD legislator Jhina Hikaka after 32 days in captivity.
“We are happy that the MLA has been set free but the incident has exposed the fast deteriorating law and order situation in the State. It seems the Government does not exist in Odisha,” OPCC president Niranjan Patnaik said.
Besides the issue of deteriorating law and order situation, these incidents have raised other questions also, Niranjan said. Maoist activities have now spread from two to 24 districts in the State, he added.
Niranjan said BJD Lok Sabha member and MLAs from Koraput district submitted a memorandum to Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik demanding fulfilment of demands, many of which were similar to that of the CMAS, which the State Government had described as a front organisation of the Maoists. The memorandum was submitted to the CM by the BJD politicians days before Hikaka was abducted, he said. Hikaka was also a signatory to the memorandum.
Surprisingly, a day after Hikaka was kidnapped, the Independent zilla parishad member from Narayanpatna, owing allegiance to the CMAS, voted for BJD vice-chairman candidate, Niranjan said. It was because, he alleged, there are some links between the CMAS and the BJD at the local level. He alleged that hobnobbing of the BJD politicians with the CMAS activists for political gain has fuelled lawlessness in those areas, he said.
Stating that the State Government has no role in the release of the abducted MLA, OPCC general secretary Arjya Kumar Gyanendra said it had failed to give protection to even a member of the Assembly. He criticised the State Government for its ‘inaction’ during crisis and praised the Chhattisgarh CM Raman Singh’s approach towards the hostage crisis in his state. Not only Raman convened an all-party meet, he has constituted a Cabinet sub-committee to deal with it. But in Odisha, no politician was taken into confidence, Gyanendra said.
State BJP president Jual Oram also criticised the State Government for the manner in which the crisis was dealt with. “It is good that the tribal MLA is now free but it shows that the State Government has failed to perform its duty. All tall claims, made by the Government, about working for welfare and uplift of tribals have been proved hollow,” he said.