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Odishatv Bureau

Kandhamal: The district police today confirmed the death of five civilians, including a 13-year-old boy, during an exchange of fire between security personnel and Maoists at Malapanga forest last night.

According to Kandhamal SP Pinak Mishra, the mishap occurred when an auto carrying two women, two men and the boy going towards Kasma village from Kurtamgarh came in the line of firing that was on between the security personnel and the Maoists.

“There was no scope of stopping the civilians from entering the fighting area as there is no proper road and the spot is a forested and difficult terrain,” Mishra said.

Terming the incident ‘unfortunate’, Mishra added, “The district police have taken steps to complete legal formalities so that the kin of the deceased can get compensation.”

Security personnel have intensified the combing operation in the area, the SP said.

Protesting the killing of the civilians, locals blocked the Gopalpur-Raipur NH-224 near Paramapanga affecting the vehicular traffic on the route. They demanded Rs 50 lakh compensation to the families of each deceased as well as removal of the deployed CRPF personnel from the area.

Meanwhile, Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik has ordered a judicial inquiry into the incident and announced compensation of Rs 5 lakh for the family members of each deceased.

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