Odisha Sun Times Bureau
Bhawanipatna, Nov 18:
The Kalahandi Zilla Adivasi Sangh (KZAS) today strongly condemned the gunning down of three villagers of Panchkul Nisanaguda by the police and SOG jawans during combing operations in the Karlapat forested area in Odisha’s Kalahandi district on Sunday and has demanded a judicial inquiry into the incident.
The KZAS which has demanded for a judicial probe into the incident will hold a grand protest rally at Jugsaipatna tomorrow.
The killing of innocent villagers by the police was condemned at a joint press conference here today by the KZAS, CPI, Green Kalahandi, Niyamgiri Surakshya Parishad and other organisations. Those organizing the press meet demanded an assistance of Rs 15 lakh each to those injured in the firing and Rs 50 lakh each to the next of kin of those killed.
“Judicial inquiry into the incident will be more relevant and appropriate instead of police investigating charges against it. We demand judicial inquiry into the incident. The guilty should be penalized on the basis of truth and facts. That’s most important. The need of the hour is to immediately stop killing of innocents in the name of Maoists,” said Lingaraj Azad, an office bearer of Niyamgiri Surakshya Parishad.
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.
On the other hand, Maoists have called for a shutdown in three blocks of Kalahandi district on November 23 in protest against the police encounter in Karlapat forest. 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 on Tuesday.
Umakant in the audio clip had 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.