Odisha: Fake encounter slur on Koraput police, kin say innocents slain

Sources said ganja peddlers use the forest route from Malkangiri via Boipariguda to smuggle their consignment to neighbouring Kotpad and Jagadalpur.

Published: 14th November 2022 07:27 AM  |   Last Updated: 14th November 2022 07:27 AM   |  A+A-

Protesters staging road blockade. (Photo| Express)

Protesters staging road blockade. (Photo| Express)

By Express News Service

JEYPORE/MALKANGIRI: Koraput police’s story of gunning down two ‘Maoists’ in Malipadar forests under Boipariguda limits has been turned on its head by family members of slain tribals who on Sunday claimed that the duo was just daily wagers and been branded as Naxals after their death.

Even as police ascertained the identity of the two who were killed in an alleged exchange of fire with Special Operations Group (SOG) on Friday, the deceased’s families claimed the encounter was fake. The two were identified as Dhana Khamar, a native of Sargiguda village under Malkangiri police limits, and Jaya Kumar Nag of Nuagada within Kosagumunda police limits in Nabarangpur.

While bodies were identified by the families, Nag’s kin said he worked on daily wages and had left home 10 days back. In Malkangiri, hundreds of villagers along with family members of 41-year-old Khamar blocked NH-326 near Kotameta disrupting vehicular traffic for hours.

Protesters claimed Khamar was a daily labourer (worked as a kaudia) and was en-route Kotpad through the forests the day he was killed. “He was branded a Maoist and killed by the security personnel,” they said.

The 41-year-old is survived by five children and an elderly mother. He received three bullet wounds. Demanding an impartial inquiry into the exchange of fire, the protestors alleged the three weapons recovered from Khamar were planted by Koraput Police.

Nag’s family members had a similar claim. “We knew Nag for a long time and he had no links with any Maoist outfit. None of the locals has any links with the Naxals,” alleged Shyama Sundar Gonda, a ward member of Bargaon village. So far, no Naxal outfit has issued any statement on the incident.

Sources said ganja peddlers use the forest route from Malkangiri via Boipariguda to smuggle their consignment to neighbouring Kotpad and Jagadalpur. Moreover, Maoists outfits transact ganja since their earnings have taken a hit with increased police presence and action in the region.

Even though demands for an impartial enquiry on the two deaths gained ground, Odisha Police has not issued any official word on the matter yet. Retired police officer Sarat Buruda said both Nag and Khamar could be conduits for ganja smugglers. “The security personnel killed the two accidentally and later branded them as Maoists,” he said.

Meanwhile, police handed over the body of Nag to his relatives on Sunday. Khamar’s body is yet to be handed over to his kin. Malkangiri SP Nitesh Wadhwani said the incident occurred in Koraput and the protestors can take up the matter with officials concerned in the neighbouring district.

On the protestors’ allegation that Khamar was a civilian, Wadhwani said they can approach the court or the human rights commission over the issue. “The incident is being blown out of proportions for political gains,” he alleged.


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