Reported by Santosh Jagdev
Bhubaneswar, Aug 31:
The long arm of law finally caught up with self-styled Odisha godman Sura Baba and his builder son in the wee hours on Monday with commissionerate police detaining the father-son duo based on an FIR lodged by an activist.
While appealing to the protesters not to take law into their hands on Sunday evening, DGP Sanjeev Marik had urged them to file an FIR action if they had a complaint against the Baba and had promised to take action.
As if on cue, Jayanta Kumar Bhoi, president of Odisha Samajika Nyaya Abhiyan and a local resident, lodged a complaint at Balipatna police station demanding the arrest of Sura Baba and his two sons of Trahi Achyuta Ashram within 24 hours.
“Acting on the prima facie evidence gathered against the Sura Baba, prompt, transparent and strict action will be taken against anyone found guilty,” said the Commissioner of Police RP Sharma. But unimpressed by the commissioner’s assurance, hundreds of aggrieved people kept demonstrating in front of the Ashram demanding the arrest of the Baba till as late as 3 am.
In his complaint, the activist warned the officials of the Twin City commissionerate police and the Naveen Patnaik government to act against the Sura Baba and his sons and arrest them under Atrocities Against Scheduled Castes (SC) and the Scheduled Tribes (ST) Act.
He alleged that the Nari Bahini (women’s wing), comprising women disciples of Sura Baba living inside the ashram had forcibly taken four youths to their ashram earlier in the day for protesting against the nefarious activities of the Baba. The four youths belong to SC & ST category and the police should arrest Baba and his sons for torturing and beating them, he said in his complaint.
“If the government fails to act against the Baba within the stipulated time lodged in the complaint, hundreds of people will gherao the Naveen Niwas. We will appeal to leaders of other parties, but not the Biju Janata Dal (BJD), to join the agitation,” Bhoi warned.
Listing Sura Baba’s misdeeds, Bhoi said the illegal activities carried out by the Baba were 14 times that of Sarathi Baba of Barimula Ashram in Kendrapara. Except the 14 acres of land, which includes the ashram, the Baba has another 30 acres of farm land in Khordha district, a timber depot in Brahmeswar area, 14 trucks and many more buildings. The illegal business is run by his two sons, who drive Jaguar cars, he pointed out.
Interestingly, the activist said; “When an ambulance goes on a busy street, everybody clears the road to give it passage. But when an ambulance comes in the way of Sura Baba, it has to stop for a while and give way to him.”
“There is no doubt the Baba and his Trahi Achyuta ashram have received full support and patronage from the State Government since 1995. That is how a small hamlet has now become a Revenue village,” the activist said.
Referring to the violent protest on Sunday evening, Bhoi said; “What was on display today was just a trailer. If the BJD-led-government fails to take action against the Baba, then they will see the full film.”
Meanwhile, the state police have increased the strength of armed forces at the ashram deploying 10 platoons of security forces. Twin city Commissioner of Police Dr RP Sharma and city DCP Satyabrata Bhoi are present on the ground supervising the security forces to keep an eye on the agitators maintaining law and order situation.
Three fire-fighting vehicles along with two platoons of fire brigade personnel have been deployed at the site to counter any emergencies.