Gumudumaha (Kandhamal): Launching its 'Adhikar Yatra' from Gumudumuha, the Congress took to the streets for the second time in the last fortnight, alleging that the State government had failed to provide justice to the five innocent villagers, including an infant, who were killed in firing by security personnel on July 8, even a month after the incident.
Over 50 activists led by PCC president Prasad Harichandan took out a padayatra (foot march) in the village. The padayatra will cover 11 blocks of the district in the next five days, party leaders said. Other leaders taking part in the rally include former MPs Bhakta Das and Pradeep Majhi, former PCC chief Jayadev Jena and MLA Krushna Chandra Sagaria.
Even though the Congress had demanded more financial aid to the families of the deceased and an inquiry by a sitting judge of the high court, the government has utterly failed to take action against the culprits in the encounter case, part leaders alleged.
The grand old party, which had staged many agitations for the interests of the tribals earlier, said it would continue its struggle for the same. "The struggle is for the human and constitutional rights of the tribals," said PCC president Prasad Harichandan.
Former Nabarangpur MP Pradeep Majhi, who was a part of the agitation, said the Congress party has launched the movement in order to getl the demands of the tribals fulfilled by the government. “We have initiated this movement to seek justice from the State government and we will continue till they get justice. The tribals and dalits are yet to get justice even a month after the police encounter," Majhi said.
Former Kalahandi MP Bhakta Das demanded that the police must take action against the erring security personnel at the earliest. "The security forces who had gunned down the innocent villagers, are not above law. If police apologise for the blunder they have done and take action against the erring officials, it would enhance their prestige," Das said.
On the other hand, BJD termed the Congress' rally as a cheap politics. "Let the Congress party rethink its decision to do cheap politics on a sensitive issue. SIT is probing the case in a transparent manner. Action will be taken after report comes," BJD leader Sasmit Patra said.
Similarly, party spokesperson Rabi Narayan Nanda criticised Pradeep Majhi for organising the rally alleging it was an attempt to protect himself from charges of his alleged chit-fund link.
“In organising such demonstration, Pradeep Babu is just trying to protect himself from the allegation levelled against him over his links with the Seashore company,” Nanda said.