Police open fire at proteters

Activists of CPI(M) obstructing traffic in Bhubaneswar in protest against firing incident in Kalinganagar industrial hub on Wednesday.   | Photo Credit: Photo: Ashoke Chakrabarty

Special Correspondent

Conflicting versions doing the rounds on death of a peron in Kalinganagar

Police take the body of Laxman Jamuda for post-mortem

CPI(M) workers are taken into custody during a protest demonstration

BHUBANESWAR: Tension prevailed in Kalinganagar Industrial Complex in Jajpur district after one person was killed and at least 16 persons were injured during police action against tribals opposing displacement due to the proposed six million tonne steel plant of Tata Steel.

The incident occurred at around 11 am when policemen and administration officials accompanied some villagers living in a rehabilitation colony nearby to go to their previous homes in Chandia village to collect their belongings.

Police opened fire at the villagers opposing displacement due to the proposed steel project when they came out to oppose the repeated entry of policemen into their villages in the recent weeks.

Laxman Jamuda, aged about 45 years, died in the police firing, according to Rabindra Jarika, secretary of the Bisthapan Birodhi Janamanch.

The Janamanch has been spearheading the anti-displacement agitation in Kalinganagar since January 2, 2006 when 14 tribal men and women were killed in police firing while opposing ground levelling work on the land earmarked for the steel plant project.

Conflicting versions were, however, given by the administration officials about the death of Laxman Jamuda. While some said Laxman Jumuda died of sunstroke another version that was doing the round that the victim died after sustaining head injury by falling on he ground.

In Bhubaneswar, Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik told presspersons that no one was killed in police firing in Kalinganagar during the day.

Activist's claim

Well-known activist Prafulla Samantara, however, claimed that about 30 people were injured in the police action and police had fired at Laxman Jamuda from his back side killing him on the spot.

The people of Chandia village have kept the blood-soaked shirt of Jamuda whose body had been taken away by police for post-mortem, Mr. Samantara said, while alleging that Jajpur district administration was trying hard to suppress the truth.

Meanwhile, the Communist Party of India(Marxist) condemned the death of Laxman Jamuda in police firing at Kalinganagar, and demanded immediate payment of compensation to the victim's family.

Several party workers were taken into custody when they staged a protest demonstration in the Capital city to condemn the police action against the agitating tribals of Kalinganagar.

The BJP Jajpur unit also condemned the police firing and demanded that Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik step down for suppressing the genuine voices of tribals of Kalinganagar.