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Mrunal Manmay Dash

The Working President of the Odisha Pradesh Congress Committee (OPCC), Pradeep Majhi, on Tuesday alleged that the six students from Odisha who were charred to death at a prawn processing unit in Andhra Pradesh’s Guntur last month were in fact murdered in a planned way.

Raising suspicion over the conduct of probe in the case, Majhi told a press conference, "Electric short circuit was never the cause of fire that caused the death of the innocent children. Our fact-finding team smelled something fishy during the probe. I suspect they had been done to death."

Two out of the six labourers (students) were from a tribal residential school in Odisha. “It is baffling how the school authorities never knew that their students had gone to work in a different State as labourers. The authorities should have kept contact with the students during the suspension of classes in COVID lockdown period," said Majhi.

The PCC heavy-weight suspected foul play in the police investigation into the, what has been termed as, accident. "The probe by the police itself raises suspicion. Not a single case has been filed against the promoters of the farm in which the six innocent children lost their lives," he said.

Targetting the Odisha government over its silence, Majhi said that neither the administration nor is the labour department seem to be concerned about the multiple deaths.

It is pertinent to mention here that as many as six labourers from Odisha were charred to death in a fire mishap at a prawn hatchery in Repalle in Guntur district of Andhra Pradesh in the wee hours of July 30, 2021.

All the deceased labourers (students) hailed from Gunupur area in Rayagada district. Sources said they were sleeping in a house when the fire mishap occurred due to suspected electrical short-circuit.

Around 25 labourers from Odisha were engaged at the factory in the neighbouring State. Three to four other labourers also sustained injuries in the fire mishap.

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