Thousands converge on Baliguda; demand CBI probe into Kandhamal killings

Phulbani: A day before the Central team’s visit to Kandhamal district to investigate the deaths of five innocent people in unprovoked firing by SOG personnel on July 8, nearly 5, 000 people gathered in Baliguda in the tribal-dominated district and demanded a CBI probe into the matter.

The protesters, mostly tribals and dalits belonging to several social organisations from across the state, took out a rally from the mini stadium in Baliguda to the sub collector’s office. The placard-bearing agitators staged a demonstration in front of the sub collector’s office and shouted slogans demanding a CBI probe into the killing of the innocent people that has evoked widespread condemnation.

On the evening of July 8, five people, including a two-year-old, were shot dead in Gumudumaha village in Kandhamal while they were returning home from here in an auto-rickshaw. Seven others were injured. The security personnel had laid an ambush for Maoists and allegedly fired at the auto-rickshaw without bothering to make sure that they were Maoists.

“The SIT (special investigation team) constituted by the State government is a complete eyewash. How can a team set up by the government report against it? Nothing less than a CBI probe can bring justice to the innocent people,” Kui Samaj president Lambodar Kahanr stated.

The protesters also demanded that Section 302 of IPC (murder) should be imposed against involved in the unprovoked firing. Later, the agitators submitted a nine-point charter of demands to the sub-collector addressed to Governor SC Jamir.

In a related development, a three-member of the SIT visited Kandhamal for the second phase of the investigation ordered by the state government.