Govt throttling tribals’ voice: Pradeep Majhi

Bhubaneswar: In the wake of the Kandhamal encounter between security forces and Red rebels on Friday night, which resulted in the loss of six tribal lives, including that of a 13-year old boy and a 15-month old girl, the Congress party came down heavily on the ruling BJD for its ‘anti-tribal’ policy.

“Whenever such false encounters happen, it’s the tribals who become the victims. Is it the ruling government’s policy to throttle the voice of the poor tribals? If that is the case, there is going to be a massive Jan Andolan (mass movement) against the ruling BJD in the coming days,” said former MP and Congress leader Pradeep Majhi while addressing the media in Rayagada.

“I condemn the incident and want to warn the government that we will not pardon anybody involved in the incident,” he stated.

The former Nabrangpur parliamentarian, who was recently lodged in jail for nearly a week for ‘fighting’ for the rights of the tribals, termed the incident a ‘conspiracy’ by the ruling party.

“There is a huge conspiracy behind this incident. It has been observed that the atrocities on tribals are increasing day by day. We have seen such incidents in Kalahandi and Rayagada in the past. We are not going to tolerate this anymore,” the Congress leader stated.

Clearly on the defensive on the issue, the BJD said the matter should not be politicised.

“Besides ex-gratia, the State government has ordered a judicial probe into the matter. It should not be politicised,” State Transport minister Ramesh Majhi said.

On Friday night, six persons were killed during an exchange of fire between security personnel and Maoists at Malapanga forest in Kandhamal district while another person succumbed to his injuries today. Police said the mishap occurred when an autorickshaw carrying two women, two men and a 13-year old boy going towards Kasma village from Kurtamgarh came in the line of firing that was on between the security personnel and the Maoists.

Terming the incident unfortunate, 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, besides a government job to members of each family and their inclusion in various social welfare schemes of the government.