Protest over encounter deaths called off

Kandhamal: The two-day road blockade called by locals at Kotgarh area in Kandhamal district to protest against the killing of two persons by police during an encounter with the Maoists was called off today after the district authorities announced an ex-gratia of Rs one lakh for the kin of the deceased.

Though the police had claimed that the two – a man and a woman were Maoists, the local people had rejected it and accused the police of killing the couple.

In an FIR at Timudibandh police station, they identified them as Dhubeswar Nayak (50) and his wife Dubudi (41) of Pangalpadar village.

The two, who were gunned down on Sunday, had gone to a nearby hilltop to make phone calls for better mobile phone connectivity when the police was involved in an exchange of fire with the Maoists, the villagers said in their complaint.

The protesters have been resorting to road blockades at six locations and staging agitations since yesterday demanding compensation of Rs 10 lakh each for the couple.

“The district administration also promised the agitators to inquire into the incident,” said Sub-Divisional police officer of Balliguda, S N Murmu.

The bodies were then received by the relatives of the deceased and the authorities paid Rs 20,000 for the funeral, he added.