Odisha tribals, a particular bugbear of police

The Odisha Government and the state police have often been accused of using force to suppress the voice of innocent tribals who oppose the police action against them in the name of naxal menace.

One such incident most recalled by activists was in Narayanpatna in highly naxal infested Koraput district a few years ago. The local tribals had gathered in front of the Narayanpatna police station to protest against the arrest of a few villagers for their alleged links with the Maoists when the police opened fire, killing a couple of protestors. Some others had sustained injuries.

The police, however, maintained that it had no other option but to open fire as some of the protestors attempted to forcibly enter the police station and loot the arms and ammunitions.

There are also instances of state using force against protestors opposing land acquisition for private sector industrial units. A case in point is the incident at the industrial hub of Kalinga Nagar in coastal Jajpur district seven years back.

The local tribals were protesting against the district administration’s attempt to acquire land for a private sector steel mill when the police opened fire killing 14 people.


Inputs: Prabhat Sharan in Mumbai, J B S Umanadh in Hyderabad, S T Beuria in Bhubaneswar.

 

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