Whenever the Prime Minister visits a city, curiosity and expectations run high.

While the general public is keen to watch the Prime Minister as well as his helicopter from close quarters, influential politicians are anxious if they will get a chance to shake their hand with him.

For the second group, the experience during the visit of Prime Minister Manmohan Singh to Bhubaneswar on Sunday was particularly bitter. Politicians, who are usually in the habit of looking down upon lesser mortals, were humiliated a lot. They were apparently of the view that their familiar face would work as identity cards for getting entry into the inner circle of the Prime Minister’s security.

However, those looking after the security of the Prime Minister did not give any importance to these politicians. As a result, a Union minister, top leaders of the State Congress had to stand in queues for a considerable time.

They were treated in such a manner as if their presence was irritating. However, they finally got a chance to get closer to Dr. Singh and shake hands with him.

Woman’s woes

“Has any human rights activist come up with any statement or press note about the rights of my child and me?” a distraught woman asked journalists at Raipanka. With a crying child in her lap this woman was among over 500 passengers stranded at Raipanka due to Maoist violence.

The bus in which she was travelling from Berhampur to Rayagada had been burnt down by the naxals. Even after 15 hours neither the officials nor the police had reached the spot. Her child was asking for food which was not available at this remote village. Her greatest agony was that the Maoists had blown up the mobile tower due to which she was unable to contact her family members.

Despite in the midst of problems she was keeping track of the news bulletins on TV and radio by running to homes at the village to know when she and her child would reach a safe place.

She lashed out at the media and human rights activists who according to her never condemn violent activities against the common man in the name of ‘revolution’. “See even after 15 hours not a single human rights activist of the State has dared to condemn the Maoist violence against public transport and communication network,” she remarked.

How can they when they have not preferred to oppose blasting of school in the name of revolution, she added.

(Satyasundar Barik and Sib Kumar Das)