Odishatv Bureau

New Delhi: Odisha Pradesh Congress Committee (OPCC) chief Prasad Harichandan on Saturday alleged that the State police are killing innocent tribals and branding them Maoists.

The Congress leader was talking to media persons here before submitting the inquiry report prepared by the Congress fact finding team on the Gumudumaha killing to party vice-president Rahul Gandhi here today.

“Four such cases (Gumudumaha) have been reported from across the State so far. After being killed, they (tribals) are branded as Maoists. The top officials involved in such incidents must be taken to task,” Harichandan said.

About the report of the fact finding team, which included former Union ministers V Kishore Chandra Deo, Jairam Ramesh, Arun Oraon, Vincent Pala and K H Muniyappa, the OPCC chief said the people were killed by jawans.

“The report makes it clear that there was neither any crossfire on the spot nor any encounter. The innocent people were killed by the bullets fired by SOG jawans,” he stated.

Harichandan, who reportedly held an hour-long discussion with the Congress heir apparent, along with Leader of Opposition (LoP) Narasingh Mishra and AICC secretary, Subhankar Sarkar, said the party will raise the issue in the ensuing session of the Odisha Assembly to corner the ruling BJD.

"The BJD has failed to protect interests of the tribals, and we will ensure that they get their rights they are entitled to," he maintained.

On July 8, five innocent people, including a 15-month old infant, were allegedly killed by security forces during an anti-Maoist operation in Gumudumaha village of Kandhamal district.