Kandhamal killings: DGP forms 6-member SIT

Bhubaneswar: Director General of Police (DGP) KB Singh today constituted a six-member special investigation team (SIT) to probe the death of six tribals, who were shot killed in an alleged crossfire between security personnel and Maoists in Malapanga forest area near Gumudumaha village of Kurtamgarh panchayat under Baliguda police limits in Kandhamal district on July 8.

Announcing the new SIT team, DGP KB Singh said the team will have Gurudas Kundu, SP of the Human Rights Protection Cell (HRPC) as the Investigating Officer (IO). The other members of the team are Ramachandra Gouda, Sadananda Guha, A. Patnaik, Nirupama Sethy and Bijay Bal.

ADG, HRPC Mahendra Pratap will be in charge of the overall supervision and monitring of the probe, the DGP said.

The Odisha government had issued the notification on formation of SIT on Tuesday night.

“The SIT of Human Rights Protection Cell (HRPC) Cell has been set up at the State Police headquarters in Cuttack. The Home department has issued the notification last night on formation of SIT to be headed by the ADG, HRPC Cell, Mahendra Pratap who will supervise and monitor investigation into the killing of six tribals by security personnel in Kandhamal district,” senior IPS officer and Special Secretary, Home, Lalit Das told media persons here earlier in the day.

He said the state government has asked the Director General of Police (DGP) and the IG to constitute the SIT and choose the officers to be included in the team for investigation.

Notably, chief minister Naveen Patnaik had announced on July 11 the formation of an SIT to probe the Kandhamal killings to ensure a thorough and impartial probe into the incident.

“If anyone is found guilty of negligent conduct after the probe, we shall take stringent action. I have also directed the DGP to have a detailed review and apply required correctives so that such an incident is not repeated in future during anti-Maoist operations,” Patnaik had told the media persons after presiding over a high level review meeting.

Terming the incident ‘most unfortunate’, the chief minister had said his government is always concerned for the Scheduled Caste and Scheduled Tribe and other deprived sections of the society and has taken the incident seriously.