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Odishatv Bureau

Sambalpur: BJP on Wednesday asked Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik to apologise for the killing of five tribals during the anti-Maoist operation in Kandhamal, claiming the tragedy was an outcome of his "incompetence and callousness".

Talking to mediapersons here, BJP's Odisha Unit chief Basanta Panda demanded the incident be probed by National Investigation Agency (NIA) or by an SIT under the High Court monitoring.

"BJP is serious over the issue. Because of callousness and incompetence of the chief minister, such incidents are taking place regularly in the state," Panda alleged.

The chief minister should apologise for the incident that took place on Friday night and leave the Home department that he holds now, he said.

Attacking the police over the issue, BJP's national secretary Suresh Pujari claimed that soon after the incident, police officials had accepted that the incident took place due to mistaken identity.

However, when they realised that a murder case would be registered in this connection, they tried to give a new colour to the incident, he alleged.

The police are claiming that the tribals were killed when an encounter was on between police personnel and the Maoists, Pujari said.

"I visited the place. There was no sign of an encounter. It was a cold-blooded murder and five people were killed by the bullets of Special Operation Group (SOG) personnel. The firing took place from a close range," he claimed.
Rejecting a probe by a Special Investigation Team of Human Rights Protection Cell (HRPC) of the police, he said it will not yield any result.

"If the Government is really keen to find out the fact, it should get the inquiry done by the NIA or SIT under the monitoring of High court", Pujari said.

The ruling BJD meanwhile said, the State government was aware of the situation and has already taken steps in this regard.

“The chief minister has already directed for a probe in the matter and action will be taken against the wrongdoers is found so. The inquiry has already begun. The CM has also directed officials to ensure non-recurrence of such incidents in future,” BJD spokesperson Samir Dash said.

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