SIT begins probe into Kandhamal killings

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Phulbani: The six-member Special Investigation Team (SIT) formed by the State Police began its probe into the shocking death of five innocent villagers, who were killed during an alleged anti-Maoists operation in Malapanga forest near Kurtamgarh in Kandhamal district in the night on July 8.

The SIT team, led by Mahendra Pratap, ADG, Human Rights Protection Cell (HRPC), arrived at the district police headquarters in the afternoon and held a meeting with Kandhamal SP Pinak Mishra.

Sources said the team will visit Baliguda and get detailed information about the incident from the IIC. The team is also scheduled to talk to the Special Operations Group (SOG) personnel involved in the operation on July 8.

The team is scheduled to visit the place near Gumudumaha village tomorrow where the five villagers were shot dead. After visiting the area, the team will meet the family members of the deceased and collect detailed information about the incident.

“We will take charge of the investigation tonight. We will take necessary action after going through the record of events, visiting the spot and interrogating those who were involved in the incident,” the HRPC ADG told media persons after his meeting with the SP.

He also informed that the SIT will have a camp office in Kandhamal where the team will stay for some days.

But he declined to talk about the modus operandi of the SIT team saying it would not be proper to give such details to the media.

The SIT probe would primarily focus on the circumstances that provoked the security men to open indiscriminate fire at these innocent villagers; on whose orders they had opened fire at them and what steps the security men had taken after the death of these tribals.

Notably, chief minister Naveen Patnaik had announced on July 11 the formation of an SIT to probe the Kandhamal killings to ensure a thorough and impartial probe into the incident.

Later, acting on the directive of the notification of the Home department, Director General of Police (DGP) KB Singh had constituted a six-member SIT on July 13 with Gurudas Kundu, SP, HRPC as the Investigating Officer (IO) and Ramachandra Gouda, Sadananda Guha, A. Patnaik, Nirupama Sethy and Bijay Bal as the other members.

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