Odisha orders SIT probe into Kandhamal gunfight

Bhubaneswar, July 11 (IANS) Odisha Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik on Monday ordered an SIT probe into the killing of five tribals allegedly during an exchange of fire between security personnel and Maoists in the state’s Kandhamal district.

“For a thorough and impartial probe into the incident, I have directed that the investigation of the case will be done by a Special Investigation Team (SIT) of the State Human Rights Protection Cell (HRPC) to be monitored and supervised by an officer of the rank of Additional Director General,” said the Chief Minister.

Reviewing the incident with the Chief Secretary, Home Secretary, the Director General of Police and Director, Intelligence, he said if anyone is found guilty of negligent conduct after the probe, the government would take stringent action against them.

“The Kandhamal issue is most unfortunate incident, and my Government has taken it very seriously. My Government is always concerned for the ST, SC and the deprived sections of the society,” he added.

Patnaik said the state police chief has been directed to carry out a detailed review and apply required correctives so that such incident is not repeated in future in anti-Maoist operations.

Earlier, the state government had ordered a judicial probe into the incident.

Meanwhile, the Odisha Human Rights Commission (OHRC) on Monday served notice on the state Home Secretary, DGP, Revenue Divisional Commissioner (RDC), Southern Division, and Inspector General of Police, Southern Range, directing them to submit a detailed probe report on the incident.

A high-level central team led by National Commission for Scheduled Tribe (NCST) Chairman Rameswar Oraon will visit Kandhamal to probe the incident on Tuesday.

The team will conduct a probe into the circumstances which led to the firing by security forces. The team will then submit its report to the Ministry, said Oraon.

On Sunday, Union Tribal Affairs Minister Jual Oram had directed the NCST Chairman to visit the incident site in Kandhamal for an on-the-spot probe.

Meanwhile, the opposition Congress and BJP observed Kandhamal shutdown to protest the deaths that occurred on Friday.

–IANS

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