Kin and victims of alleged fake encounters and fabricated cases by the police in Kandhamal district took out a protest march in Berhampur and demonstrated in front of office of the Revenue Divisional Commissioner (RDC) on Saturday.
The demonstration was organised by Banabasi Surakshya Parishad of Kandhamal district and Campaign Against Fabricated Cases (CAFC), Odisha. They handed over a memorandum addressed to state government at the office of the RDC.
The protestors alleged that since thr murder of VHP leader Swami Lakshamanananda Saraswati and his four associates on Aug 23, 2008, which led to communal riots in Kandhamal, innocents were being persecuted by the police. According to convenor of CAFC, Odisha, Narendra Mohanty, more than hundred people have been arrested through false and fabricated cases. The protestors alleged that although Maoists had claimed that they were involved in the murder of the Swami Lakshmanananda, seven innocent people of the minority community of the district have been convicted by court in the murder case and sentenced to life imprisonment. “It has happened only due to pressure of vote bank politics”, said Mr Mohanty. They demanded release of these seven persons.
Protestors also alleged that the encounter between naxalites and security forces in Bhaliaguda forest bordering Ganjam, Gajapati and Kandhamal districts on Nov 14, 2012 was a fake encounter. As per claims of the police seven naxalites had been killed in this encounter. But protestors of both these organisations termed it to be a fake encounter and the deceased to be innocent tribals.
They also took up the issue of recent killing of a couple by security forces during an anti-Maoist operation in Kotagarh police station in Kandhamal district on July 26. Although initially police claimed that the deceased were Maoists, locals claimed them to be innocent commoners.
As per local residents both of them were using their mobile phone on a hill top to make calls to their son in Kerala because of low connectivity in the area.