Congress attacks Odisha government over killings of tribals

Bhubaneswar, July 24 (IANS) The Congress party on Sunday attacked Odisha Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik over the “killing of innocent tribal people in the name of Maoists” in the state.

“Five tribals and Dalits were killed by security personnel in Kandhamal district. But, there was no word from Naveen Patnaik over the issue. This is for the fourth time in last 12 months that innocent tribals got killed,” said senior Congress leader Jairam Ramesh.

Ramesh was the part of a five-member central team of the All India Congress Committee (AICC), which visited Gumudumaha village in Kandhamal on Saturday.

“It seems the Chief Minister wants a tribal-free Odisha,” he said.

“The Kandhamal encounter was not a cross firing between security personnel and Maoists. This was one-way firing. We would raise the issue in the Parliament. The government must act against the persons involved in the killing,” said Ramesh.

Another Congress leader V. Kishore Chandra Deo demanded that the chief minister should own moral responsibility for the Kandhamal incident and ensure that such incident would not occur in future.

“Has the state government raised the police force to maintain law and order in the state or to kill innocent people? Why have they been trained,” asked Deo.

He said there was no proper transport and communication in the district even though the then UPA government had sanctioned adequate funds.

With ruling Biju Janata Dal (BJD) planning to stage demonstrations across 15 districts protesting against Chhattisgarh’s proposed barrage on the upstream of the Mahanadi River from July 25 till August 11, Ramesh said it is meant to divert the attention of people from the issue.

“If the barrage construction by Chhattisgarh government on Mahanadi river affects Odisha, Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik should take an all-party delegation to Delhi and apprise the Prime Minister that construction work must start after discussion with Odisha,” said Ramesh.

He said the party would send a delegation to Chhattisgarh to take stock of the situation in next seven days and prepare a report.



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