Odisha Sun Times Bureau
Bhawanipatna, Nov 17:
Maoists have called for a shutdown in three blocks of Odisha’s Kalahandi district on November 23 in protest against the police encounter in Karlapat forest on Sunday in which three villagers were killed and two minors were critically injured.
The bandh call was given by Umakant, secretary of Bansadhara-Ghumusar-Nagabali committee of the CPI (Maoist) in an audio clip released to the media.
Umakant in the audio clip has claimed that there was no exchange of fire from the Maoist side in the Karlapat forest as claimed by the police.
He said police had fired at villagers to create panic among the public. The Maoist leader has demanded Rs 10 lakh as assistance to next of kin of the deceased villagers.
Notably, three villagers, including a ward member, were killed and two minors were seriously injured when police and SOG jawans opened fire on them on Sunday mistaking them to be Maoists, during joint combing operations in the Karlapat forested area in Kalahandi district.
The deceased were identified as Panchu Majhi, Sukru Majhi and Jay Shankar Naik all natives of Nisanaguda in Panchakula village. Jaya Shankar Naik was a ward member of the village.
The bodies were handed over to the family members of the deceased on Monday. The final rites were performed later in the day.
The critically injured minors Arjun Majhi and Ichhu Majhi are undergoing treatment at VIMSAR, Burla.
While Arjun has been hit by a bullet on his nose Ichhu has been hit on his back. All of them had reportedly gone to the forest to graze their goats when security personnel fired at them suspecting them to be Maoists.
Meanwhile, acting chairperson of Odisha Human Rights Commission (OHRC), Justice Bira Kishore Mishra Monday directed the DIG (South Western Range) to enquire into the matter and file a detailed report within four weeks.
Alleging violation of human rights of the innocent tribals by the forces, human rights activist Prabir Kumar Das had sought intervention of the OHRC for ensuring a proper and independent enquiry/investigation by the investigation wing of the Commission for ascertaining facts, fixing responsibility and stern action against the guilty personnel.
Besides, the petitioner has appealed for compensation of Rs 10 lakh to the next to the kin of the deceased and Rs 5 lakh to the injured persons. In addition to this, he also sought the expenditure towards the treatment to be borne by the government.