Odisha Sun Times Bureau
Bhubaneswar, Jul 19:
Even one full year after the Odisha government’s assurance of assistance, succour is yet to reach a hapless woman from Puri district, The reason: her inability to grease the palms of officials.
After running from pillar to post for relief, the hopes of Anjali Dash, who hails from Diyakuda village in Puri district, soared when she got the chief minister’s grievance cell to hear her complaints. But as events proved later, her hopes were misplaced.
The woman’s husband abandoned her after attempting to kill her four years ago. He remained incommunicado for his wife his newborn baby.
After lending an ear to the duped woman’s complaints, the state government had assured her to provide a patch of land as she had been disowned by one and all.
The district collector was instructed to provide four decimal land to the ill-fated woman near Satapada College.
The collector asked the block development officer (BDO) to initiate the formalities. However, the local Tehsildar allegedly sought a bribe of Rs 20, 000 from her to get the job done. As the woman is unable to meet the demands of the officials, she is deprived of the government assistance. Due to this, she is staring at uncertainty over her future.
In 2011, a constable—Jitendra Kumar Sethi—had allegedly abducted Anjali from Satapada. The already married man in khaki took her to Nilamadhab Temple in Kantilo and married her against her wishes. When his first wife came to know about this, she filed a complaint with the police following which he was arrested and subsequently sacked from his government job.
As the days moved on, the financial difficulties left the jobless Jitendra frustrated. In a fit of anger, he doused Anjali with kerosene and set her afire. Local villagers rescued Anjali, who was pregnant at the time, and rushed her to a nearby hospital. Following the intervention of an NGO, she was shifted to SCB Medical College and Hospital in Cuttack.
While undergoing treatment at the burns unit, she delivered her child. But, she couldn’t breastfeed her baby boy as her torso had been badly affected.
After recovering from the trauma and physical sufferings, she returned to her village only to be disowned by all. Her family was ostracised as she got married to a man belonging to a lower caste.
With no relief in sight, she approached the local police but all her efforts were futile. After a series of disappointments, she approached the CM’s grievance cell but it took a considerable time to get her ordeal heard. Though, it provided some succour to the woman, it is yet to come her way allegedly due to official apathy.