Bhubaneswar: The Odisha Human Rights Commission (OHRC) Friday directed the state government to grant Rs 2 lakh more to the next of kin of each deceased who were shot by the security forces in 2016. Earlier, they the victims’ families had received Rs 7 lakh each from the state as ex gratia October 13, 2016.
The OHRC asked the state government to provide Rs 50,000 more to each of the persons injured during the exchange of fire. The commission asked the government to grant them the money within two months and submit a compliance report to the commission.
However, the commission refused to declare the deaths as cold-blooded murders or a fake encounter. The rights body said, “When a Judicial Commission is probing the death of five tribals and injuries to four others, the OHRC is not the competent authority to decide whether it is a cold-blood murder or a fake encounter.”
Notably, an anti-Maoist operation by the Special Operation Group (SOG) jawans of Odisha Police was underway at Gumudumaha forest under Baliguda police limits in Kandhamal July 8, 2016 night. Unfortunately, the innocent tribals who were returning to their village, Gumudumaha under Parampanga Gram Panchayat, trapped between the SOG team and the ultras. They were returning in an auto-rickshaw after receiving their wages for the work done under MNRGES. Five tribals were dead after receiving bullets from SOG jawans while four sustained grave injuries in the firing.
The deceased were identified as Kukal Digal,50, ex-Naib Sarpanch of Parampanka GP, Luta Digal,25, Timari Mallik, Bringuli Mallik and Midiali Mallik, all women aged 40 years and one Giheji Digal, a 2-year-old child.
Some Human rights activists appealed to OHRC seeking ex gratia of Rs 25 lakh for each deceased and Rs 10 lakh each injured.
The Commission directed the Principal Secretary to Government, Home department, Bhubaneswar; the DG & IG of Odisha Police, Cuttack; the Revenue Divisional Commissioner, Southern Division, Berhmapur and the IG of Police, Southern Range, Berhampur to enquire into the incident and submit their reports to the Commission.
The reports by the authorities concluded that the incident was caused due to mistaken identity.
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