Kandhamal killings: SC Commission notice to Odisha govt

Bhubaneswar: Four days after the visit of its chairman to Gumudumaha village in Kandhamal district where five innocent people were killed by security forces during an anti-Maoist operation on July 8, National Commission for Scheduled Castes (NCSC) on Monday sent a notice to the State government asking it to take action against the erring policemen.

Talking to OTV, NCSC chairman PL Punia said the police officers responsible for the incident must be brought to book.

“Notice has been sent to Odisha chief secretary, Home secretary, Director (SOG operations), Director (Intelligence) asking for action against the security personnel involved. Cases must be filed against the cops who were part of the anti-insurgency operation in the area on that day. Besides, a case must be registered under the Act which safeguard rights of the STs and SCs,” Punia stated.

Ruing that the ex-gratia amount given to the kin of the victims was very small, the Commission chief demanded that it should be hiked.

“The monetary assistance handed over to them is inadequate. The kin of the victim must avail government assistance under SC/ST (Prevention of Atrocities) Act separately. Other facilities like education for their children, houses and financial assistance should be given to them at the earliest….I have instructed them to follow all these. I have asked them for an action taken report. After getting the report, next date will be fixed for further discussion,” he stated.

Terming the incident ‘utterly inhuman’, Punia assured that he will pursue the matter personally.

Meanwhile, the six-member Special Investigation Team (SIT) formed to investigate the matter has started the probe.

“We are assessing the situation now. We will talk to the officials and security personnel involved in the incident,” Human Rights Protection Cell (HRPC) ADG Mahendra Pratap, who is leading the SIT, said.

The team had arrived at the district headquarters yesterday afternoon and held a meeting with Kandhamal SP Pinak Mishra.