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Families of Bhaliaguda encounter victims demand independent probe

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OST Bureau

Phulbani, Nov 14:

bhaliaguda gana dharana

Family members of the five persons killed in a police encounter at Bhaliaguda in Gajapati district exactly a year ago, today staged a mass dharna and submitted a memorandum to the Governor of Odisha through the district collector demanding a judicial inquiry into the encounter and compensation to the family members of the victims.

While police had claimed that the five, belonging to tribal and dalit communities, were killed in a ‘genuine’ encounter, civil and human rights activists had dubbed it a fake encounter.

The incident had led to public outrage when the fact that two of the victims were elected members of Panchayati Raj Institutions (PRI) came to light.

The kin of the five – Ayub Padra, Ghasiram Bagsingh, Samson Patmajhi, Sanatan Mallick and Laxmikanta Naik – who staged the mass dharna under the banner of Mithya Mokadama Virodhi Abhijan (MMVA) said that the deceased were not members of Odisha Maovadi Party as alleged by the police. They were innocent individuals, they said.

They demanded the trial of the policemen involved in the encounter under section 302 of the IPC and an independent probe into the incident by a sitting judge of the High Court as well as Rs 10 lakh as compensation to family members of each of the five deceased.

Convenor of MMVA Narendra Mohanty alleged that despite Governor ordering Kandhamal district collector to conduct an inquiry into the incident, the latter is yet to begin the inquiry though five months have elapsed since the order was given.

Collector Dr N Tirumala Nayak, while pleading ignorance of the Governor’s orders for an inquiry, has assured to look into the matter and take necessary steps, Mohanty said.

Ranjita Patmajhi, widow of Ayub Padra alleged that family members of the deceased are yet to get death certificates of their dead relatives. She demanded that death certificates, besides assistance to the family members, should be issued immediately.

“My father was not a Maoist. He had gone to Daringbadi and never returned. He has been killed in cold blood. We are missing him. We are having a tough time,” said Sachin Bagsingh, the son of Ghasiram Bagsingh, one of the five killed in the encounter.