Rashmi Rekha Das

Seventeen years back, police had fired at tribals while they were protesting setting up of a project by the Tatas on January 2, 2006 resulting in death of 14 tribals at Kalinga Nagar in Jajpur district. 

Commemorating the day, Bisthapana Birodhi Janamancha celebrated 17 years of the massacre that once had sent shockwaves in the entire state. Every year, the kith and kin of the tribals killed in the gruesome incident observe January 2 as Saheed Divas.

Tribals from outside Jajpur district also grace the occasion to reminisce the chilling memories of the killings of innocent tribals every year. 

Apart from holding rallies from Champakoili to Birabhoomi where a shaheed pillar has been erected, tribals do a puja of Mayamlinga.

“Since 2007, we have been paying homage to those who have sacrificed their lives for the sake of our rights over last 17 years " said an agitating tribal.

On the fateful day, the police had opened fire on agitating tribals who were protesting against forcible displacement of people due to the construction of a boundary wall of a corporate house for its 6 million tonne steel plant in Kalinga Nagar.

While 12 persons died on the spot, 60 others suffered bullet injuries. In retaliatory attack, tribals had also killed a police havildar. Four tribals were paralysed.