Going through the social media buzz of Constitution Day, my eyes fell upon a report that took me back to question myself, on where the words of our Preamble stand today. The report highlights the closure of the Itishree Pradhan murder case. On November 24, 2017, the Supreme Court closed the high profile murder case of a teacher in Odisha named Itishree Pradhan, after the CBI, which was probing the case, failed to identify the culprits, who allegedly torched Itishree.
Itishree Pradhan, a government teacher at a primary school, in Tikiri (Rayagada, Odisha) was harassed by Netrananda Dandosena, who happened to be the ex-sub inspector of the school. Unable to bear the harassment anymore, she lodged written reports against the accused as well as his family members. Not so surprisingly, no action was taken against the culprits. Then, she made an appeal to various authorities and bodies for help.
At the same time, the accused left no stone unturned in harassing her in various ways, to ensure the backoff or withdrawal of the complaints. The allegations further disclose that on October 27, 2013, at about 9.20 PM when the victim was listening to music, an unknown culprit entered the room of the victim and threatened her to withdraw the cases against the accused persons. When she reluctantly declined, the culprit poured kerosene on her and set her ablaze.
She was taken to a hospital where the medical officer administered preliminary treatments and apprehending her near demise, recorded her dying declaration. The victim was referred to the District Headquarters Hospital for specialized treatment. The matter was then reported to the police and the Tahasildar-cum-Executive Magistrate, Rayagada also recorded a dying declaration. The deceased was thereafter referred to Seven Hills Hospital at Visakhapatnam where she succumbed to the severe burns on November 1, 2013.
After the news broke, some actions were taken, but the most effective ones were left untouched.
After many interrogations and the showcase of the investigation, the case still remains dead to the answers of who killed Itishree. On November 24, the Supreme Court closed the Itishree murder case after the CBI remained clueless about the unidentified accused. The BJD said that the saffron party used the central investigating agency to save former Koraput MP Jayaram Pangi, who has joined the BJP. The state and democracy has itself failed to deliver justice and has lost its credibility.
Years have passed since India got its Constitution, but today, I recall the three warnings of Ambedkar. On November 25, 1949, he expressed the need to give up the grammar of anarchy, to avoid hero-worship, and to work towards a social – not just a political – democracy in order to achieve the real freedom. Today, the core ideas of equality and justice remain blurred.In a democratic and progressive nation, where women are being crowned as Ms World, there is another part of the country, where many more Itishree live and die each day.
As the highest authority of justice, closes the unsolved, unjust murder of Itishree’s chapter, I wonder how far we have successfully assassinated the half-dead Constitution.