Sambalpur custodial death: Congress demands compensation, judicial probe

Sambalpur: Dubbing the custodial death in Sambalpur as ‘murder’, the Congress party today demanded Rs 30 lakh compensation for the family of the victim and a judicial probe into the incident.

A delegation led by former PCC president Jayadev Jena met the family members of Abinash Munda who allegedly committed suicide by hanging himself inside the police lockup of Ainthapali police station last week.

The Congress delegation included Congress ST Cell president Pradeep Majhi, SC cell Chief Krushna Chandra Sagaria, MLA Naba Das and other office bearers of the district.

“We demand the matter should be investigated by a judicial panel headed by a sitting judge of the High Court. The government must provide Rs 30 lakh compensation to the victim’s family at the earliest,” Jena said.

Denying the case as a matter of suicide, Jena further stated that police killed him.

“It is not suicide rather it can be termed as murder. Police department is not under the control of the State government. Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik, who is heading the Home department, should also step down on moral ground for failing to maintain law and order in the State,” he added.

Expressing similar concerns, Pradeep Majhi said that the Congress party will continue to fight for the rights of dalits.

“The death of Abinas Munda clearly states that the dalits in the State are not safe. As we lost trust on State, we will soon move to Delhi and will stage demonstration at Jantar Mantar on February 25 protesting the custodial death and Kunduli suicide. Later, a memorandum will be submitted to the President on February 29 or 30,” Majhi maintained.

Abinash Munda, an accused in a theft case, was found hanging inside the lockup at Ainthapali police station last Thursday. Following the incident, locals went berserk and ransacked the police station, torched documents, furniture and vehicles parked inside the station.

The incident is being investigated by Human Rights Protection Cell (HRPC) of Odisha police on direction of the DGP.