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Namtara firing: Villagers seek intervention of Odisha Rights Panel


Odisha Sun Times Bureau
Bhubaneswar, Jul 17:

Four months after the police shootout, the people of Namtara village under Rajkanika block in Kendrapara district on Thursday urged the Odisha Human Rights Commission (OHRC) to direct the state government to pay compensation to the injured victims and make arrangements for their proper treatment.

Namtara victimsThe villagers, led by the members of the Milita Odisha Nisha Nibarana Abhijan, met the Commission at its office here. During the discussion, the aggrieved villagers told the Commission that though the state government has asked the Revenue Divisional Commission (RDC) to probe the incident, the investigation is yet to begin.

The villagers also requested the Commission to ask the state government to pay Rs 10 lakh as compensation to the family of each victim and make necessary arrangements to provide better treatment to the injured villagers.

It may be recalled that the villagers had earlier requested the district administration to shift the government liquor shop from their village. But as the administration did not pay any heed to their request, the irate villagers ransacked the liquor shop on March 8.

Rajkanika police, which reached the village five hours after the incident, allegedly resorted to indiscriminate firing at the villagers in which eight villagers were seriously injured.

Narrating the incident to the Commission, Rita, an eight-old girl of Class-IV of the village said she was returning from tuition with her mother Sasmita and elder sister Rashmita when the police suddenly started firing at the villagers.

“Before I could know what was happening, a bullet hit my left knee, two bullets on the two thighs of my sister and one on my mother’s leg. We all fell down crying helplessly. My sister is now limping’ she is not able to walk properly. The bullet that hit my mother’s leg has not been extracted till date. Though the wound in my left knee has healed, I am unable to sit on the floor as my leg is not bending. I cannot run and play and go to school. I want to go to my school like my other friends,” said a dejected Rita.

According to Rita’s sister Rashmita, the 12-year-old Class VII student, though the doctors have extracted two bullets from her two thighs, the pain is still unbearable.

“We have no money. Where and how we can be treated?” she told the Commission.

Sasmita, mother of these two children, told the Commission that the doctors at the SCB Medical College and Hospital in Cuttack had discharged her without extracting the bullet from her leg.

“I am having severe pain on my leg and cannot do any household work. Why did the police fire at us? What did my two daughters do? How did the government forget us after the incident?” she rued.