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Kandhamal deaths: Tribals killed in crossfire, Odisha govt tells NCSC

Odisha government has, however, said that an SIT probe into the incident is under way and action would be taken against security personnel if they are found guilty.

Written by Debabrata Mohanty | Bhubaneswar |
August 13, 2016 1:03:59 am
 kandhamal,  kandhamal violence,  kandhamal maoist violencem, Odisha news,  kandhamal news, Odisha Anti-Maoist movement, Odisha protests, Odisha news, India news Protesters with the body of one of the victims. (File, Express Photo)

A month after five Dalits, including a two-year-old, were killed in police firing at a village in Odisha’s Kandhamal district, the state government has told the National Commission for Scheduled Castes that the five tribals were caught in crossfire between the security personnel and Maoists.

The state government has, however, said that an SIT probe into the incident is under way and action would be taken against security personnel if they are found guilty.

The government’s reply comes after chairman of the National Commission for Scheduled Castes, P L Punia, submitted a report to the state government where he debunked the crossfire theory of the police. “In case of crossfiring, there would have been casualties or injuries to the police personnel and Maoists, which did not happen. The police have registered an FIR based on the submission made by the Commandant SOG which is not only one-sided but blatantly concocted and untrue and to cover up the misdeed of the jawans,” Punia wrote in his report.

The state government, however, has said the SOG personnel were engaged in a gunfight with Maoists on July 8. “During such firing, some of the villagers travelling in an auto sustained bullet injuries which resulted in death of five persons and injuries to four others. In this context, Baliguda police station case no 109/2016 dated July 9 has been registered on the basis of the report of the sergeant leading the SOG team,” the home department said.

It added that an SIT has been formed under the Addl DG, Human Rights Protection Cell, to probe the incident. A commission headed by the district and sessions judge of Kandhamal is also looking into the incident.

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