BHUBANESWAR: The Odisha Human Rights Commission (OHRC), which on Friday directed the State Government to provide an additional ex gratia of `2 lakh to kin of each victim of Gumudumaha firing, has rapped the security forces for human rights violation. The violation of human rights appears tell-tale in the facts and circumstances of the case. On July 8, 2016, as many as five tribals were killed in firing by a squad of Special Operation Group (SOG) at Gumudumaha in Kandhamal district during an anti-Maoist operation. The Commission said the Government and its law enforcing agencies are liable to make good the sufferance of the innocent tribals when there was a ‘blatant’ failure of the State to protect its citizens.
According to reports of RDC, Berhampur, the tribals, travelling in an auto-rickshaw, sustained injuries due to firing but were left unattended by the paramilitary forces engaged in carrying out the combing operation. No immediate medical care and treatment were provided to the injured persons and there was an inordinate delay after the unfortunate incident, the rights watchdog said. Had the injured been immediately rescued and shifted to a hospital, such high number of casualties could not have possibly occurred. The Commission observed that the bullet injuries could not have been self-inflicted.
“Independent of the question whether the five deceased and the injured persons sustained injuries are self inflicted or in course of exchange of fire between the Maoists and paramilitary forces, it is an established fact that the bullet injuries could not have been self inflicted,” Acting Chairperson of OHRC Justice BK Misra said.
He observed that the Government in its ‘anxiety’ not only provided monetary assistance to the kin of the deceased but also provided other benefits like BPGY package, land for house, additional assistance of `20,000 under the NFBS, and admission to affected families’ children in different schools. The Commission stressed that every citizen has the fundamental right to live and that personal liberty guaranteed under the Constitution is to be protected. Earlier, kin of the deceased were given `7 lakh each from the Chief Minister’s Relief Fund.