Odisha Sun Times Bureau
Khariar (Nuapada), Aug 22:
The four jawans of the Special Operations Group (SOG), the elite anti-Maoist force raised by the Odisha government, arrested yesterday on the charge of killing a local youth at their camp inside the Sunabeda wildlife sanctuary were forwarded to a local court today even as a three-member team of the Pradesh Congress Committee (PCC) arrived here this morning on a fact-finding mission.
It may be mentioned that Komna police had arrested four SOG personnel of Unit-16 team—team leader Khusiram Bhoi and commandos Sashi Kujur, Pramod Jagdala and Kamadeb Pradhan yesterday.
S Shyni, DIG, south-western range, expressed regret about the incident today.“We are extremely sorry about the unfortunate incident at the police post inside Sunabeda sanctuary and beg apology to the people. We have taken action against the case registered at the Komna police station and arrested four SOG personnel. The investigation is still on,” she told the media today.
According to reports, the Congress team, led by PCC president Prasad Harichandan with two other members—Sibananda Ray and Shyam Sundar Hansda—will meet the family members of the deceased Chittaranjan Sahu and Nrutyan Nayak, who was seriously injured in the assault by SOG jawans. The team would later meet the district collector and the SP.
Making a statement on the incident in the Odisha Assembly yesterday, chief minister Naveen Patnaik had announced an ex-gratia of Rs 10 lakh for the family of the deceased and ordered a probe into the incident by a local judicial magistrate.
Informing the House that criminal cases will be registered against the four SOG jawans, Patnaik said the government will also bear the expenses on the treatment of the two other youths injured in the assault by the security personnel.
The chief minister said the local judicial magistrate would probe the incident.
Allegedly, personnel of the Special Operations Group (SOG) engaged in anti-Maoist operations had picked up three local youth who were on a sight-seeing visit to the Sunabeda sanctuary and had subjected them to torture at their camp six day ago. While one of them succumbed to the torture, another was shifted to VIMSAR, Burla for treatment as his condition deteriorated. He was shifted to Raipur yesterday after his condition worsened. The third, being a minor, was kept at the Komna police station.
Tempers ran high in several places in the district, including district headquarters Nuapada, on Thursday after the body of Sahu was recovered by Komna police based on information provided by the arrested SOG jawans. Spontaneous shut-dons were observed in several places after the recovery of the body from th forests yesterday.
On Wednesday, over 500 locals had gheraoed the Komna police station while schools and colleges, shops and establishments had downed their shutters in protest. Locals had blocked roads and the National Highway connecting Raipur with Gopalpur, leaving hundreds of vehicles stranded on either side of the Highway.