Mrunal Manmay Dash

The villagers of Nuasasana on the banks of River Mahanadi Athgarh in Cuttack district have been spending sleepless nights due to the fear of bullets.

Stray bullets flying into the village have caused a lot of damage to their property including injuries to some people. So much so that, a local woman, Subasini Jena was recently operated upon and a bullet lodged in her hand was recovered by the medicos.

As per Jena’s allegations, she was using the village tube-well some months back when she suddenly felt pain in her right palm. As it was bleeding profusely, she was rushed to the hospital where the doctors applied first aid and made her leave.

“But after some days, the pain increased and I had to visit SCB hospital in Cuttack. The doctors their used x-ray and found a foreign object in my palm. After operation, the foreign object was confirmed as a stray bullet,” Jena said.

“We are in constant fear of stray bullets falling here and there in our village. Our roofs have been damaged. I fear for our children’s lives. If something like this can happen to me, it can happen to anybody and someone might die,” she feared.

While this is not a one off incident, as it turned out, stray bullets tend to find their way into Nuasasan village more often than not. And the cause behind it is said to be a firing range on the other side of Mahanadi near Naraj.

The villagers alleged that Police, CRPF and CISF personnel practice their shooting skills in the range which causes bullets to stray into their village.

Former Sarpanch, Srikar Jena said, “The bullets from the firing range near Naraj are landing in Nuasasan, Anantapur and adjacent areas. We demand to move that firing range from Naraj to another location and let us live our lives peacefully here, otherwise we will take to streets in the future.”

However, the local Police have completely denied the allegations of stray bullets from the firing range landing in Nuasasan.

Speaking to reporters, Additional DCP of Cuttack, Anil Kumar Mishra said, “Odisha police conducts a firing exercise for its jawans once in a year at the Naraj firing range. The weapons we use have a maximum range of 1000 yards and the range is far more big and the villages are far away. There is no chance our bullets travelling that far to land in Nuasasan village.”

“Any wing of the security forces that wants to use the firing range will have to take permission from the DCP. As far as Odisha Police’s firing practice is concerned, we concluded our practice on November 30,” Mishra added.

(Reported By Nilakantha Dora, OTV)