Tribals, Dalits and social activists at a memorial meeting held at Gumudumaha village on Tuesday demanded immediate strict action against police personnel of the Special Operation Group (SOG) who had killed five innocents on July 8 during an anti-Maoist operation.
Over 2000 tribals and Dalits from Gumudumaha village as well as other parts of Kandhamal and Kalahandi districts participated in the meeting despite a bandh call by Maoists in protest against the killings. The meeting coincided with a post-funeral tribal ritual, ‘mada thipei’, held for three Kui tribals of Gumudumaha killed in the incident. Mass prayer was also held in memory of two persons of the Christian community. President of the tribal organisation Kui Samaj Samanwaya Samity (KSSS) Lambodar Kanhar, president of the Odisha Krushak Sabha (OKS) Abhiram Behera, convener of Campaign Against Fabricated Cases (CAFC), spokesperson of CPI-ML (New Democracy) B.C.Sarangi, former MP Nakul Nayak, former State minister Bhajaman Behera, Congress leader Klesha Pradhan as well as BJD MLA who represents the area, Rajib Patra ,attended the memorial meeting. Various tribal and Dalit village heads also spoke on the occasion.
Memorial constructed in memory of the five deceased, erected at the spot of the shoot-out, was also unveiled.
The activists demanded murder cases to be filed against those policemen as early as possible.
They also felt that the seven-lakh compensation declared by government was not adequate and demanded that it be enhancedIt was decided that on August 1 another mass rally would be held at Baliguda in Kandhamal district for demand of strict legal action against the ‘erring’ policemen.
Meanwhile, the second day of the two-day bandh had little impact in Kandhamal district that included the Daringbadi, Baliguda region where Gumudumaha is located.