FROM DR JOHN DAYAL
Plaintiff in Person
Justice Panigrahi Commission of Enquiry in the Kandhamal, Orissa violence of December 2007
To The Honourable Commission
1. I, John Dayal, Plaintiff in Person, state as follows;
2. I have been summoned by the Honourable Justice Basudeo Panigrahi Commission to appear before it in Cuttack, Bhubaneswar on 1st November 2008.
3. I have just heard that my close friend Father Bernard Digal, treasurer of the Archdiocese of Bhubaneswar, who was grievously injured in an attack on him by religious fundamentalists in Kandhamal during the August to October 2008 violence, died in hospital of complications. Those responsible for the attack are not known to have been arrested. His death has affected the community deeply, and I am troubled in my mind. Fr Bernard was himself an applicant and was to reappear before the Honourable Commission.
4. The general law and order situation in Orissa continues to be aggravating. The Honourable Chief Minister admits 10,000 persons are in government refugee camps. Unknown numbers are in forests. It will be impossible to summon witnesses I may want to cross examine, or who may want to depose for the 2007 violence. The assailants are scot free, and the few arrested may be out on bail, as happened in 2007 December violence according to depositions before the Commission in earlier hearings.
5. I have been, together with the Archbishop and Mr Radha Kant Nayak, MP, subjected of a sustained and criminal hate campaign which exceeds definitions of libel and criminal defamation. The hate campaign, which has been carried out in public dharnas by leaders of fundamentalist organisations, has also been carried out in a section of the Oriya language Press and has been widely reported in the media. A ruling political party, the BJP by its acts and deeds has given moral support to this hate campaign by visits to the dharna or agitation spot by its leaders. This has made the government complicit in the campaign against me. This has also patently created an atmosphere of hate and can, I fear and apprehend, foment violence against me in Bhubaneswar and Cuttack, and other parts of Orissa.
6. In a past visit to Bhubaneswar, I had to return to Delhi from Bhubaneswar because of the hate and threat environment. I of course could not move out of Bhubaneswar, much less go to Kandhamal or other places hit by the violence.
7. Other witnesses, and past witnesses and applicants are also not in a position to depose before the commission for the same reasons and as such will not be available for examination and cross examination.
8. It is therefore averred that the environment is not conducive to my safety and security. I apprehend a serious threat to my security and to my life and limb, and to my freedom of movement.
9. The Honourable Commission and the State Government, I fear, are in no position to guarantee my safety, security and life.
10. I, therefore pray that my deposition be deferred to such future dates as and when the environment is conducive, and my security and safety is guaranteed.
For this, I shall as in duty bound, ever be grateful
Applicant in Person