Vehicle carrying MDM for school children torched in Odisha

Bhawanipatna: A group of men, suspected to be Maoists, torched a vehicle carrying mid-day meal for school children and ate the food before taking away the containers in Odisha’s Kalahandi district, a senior police officer said today.

Over 35 men waylaid the pick-up van carrying cooked food at Ijurupa under Lanjigarh police station yesterday and asked its driver and three other occupants to leave the place, Superintendent of Police, Kalahandi, Brijesh Kumar Rai said.

They ate the food, set ablaze the van and left carrying the containers, he said.

The cooked food was being taken for distribution among school children at Trilochanpur, Kualguda, Khemundipadar, Amguda and Goud Thuaguda villages in the district.

Though involvement of Maoists in the incident could not be ruled out, investigation into other possible angles was also on, the SP said.

Rai, who visited the spot, said no leaflet or poster was left behind by the attackers.

Armed personnel had been sent to the area, he said.

As per an MOU between Odisha government, Nandi foundation and Sesa Sterlite, which has an alumina refinery at Lanjigarh had provided infrastructure for giving mid-day meal to 187 schools in 18 different routes in the district. Nandi foundation has been supplying cooked food.

The red rebels are opposed to industrial and mining activities in the tribal-dominated area and had killed a Vedanta employee at Ijurupa in July, 2011.