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Narayanpatna: Civil groups against state atrocity

Posted by Admin on November 25, 2009

BHUBANESWAR: Several civil society organizations are up in arms against the government as the police build up pressure in Narayanpatna chasing functionaries and supporters of Chasi Mulia Adivasi Sangh (CMAS). They described the present action as “state atrocity” and warned that it would add fuel to the fire, rather than resolving the problems of the locals.

“We demand immediate withdrawal of all armed and paramilitary forces including Cobra, IRB and CRPF from Narayanpatna and discontinuance of the combing operation there,” Prafulla Samantara (Lok Shakti Abhiyan), Radhakant Sethi (CPI-ML Liberation), Budha Gamanga (Lok Sangram Manch) and Sivaram (CPI-ML) said in a joint statement here on Wednesday.

They had visited Narayanpatna on November 23, the day the two bodies of CMAS functionaries, killed in police firing, were cremated and found the situation there very fluid. They alleged that the police had registered “false cases” against the CMAS workers and harassing them.

Their reaction came on a day when police arrested at least 20 persons at Podapadar, where it came under fire from suspected Maoists during an early morning operation. “We had information there were seven Maoists hiding there. As we began the combing operation, they used women and children as cover, forcing us to remain restrained. They escaped into nearby forest. We later arrested the villagers,” said a senior police officer.

Samantara and others, however, refused to buy the police story that Narayanpatna had become a Maoist hub and there was need for the operation to flush out them.

“The CMAS is a democratic organization and existed much before the “Maoists”. It is fighting for the just cause of the tribals that has not gone well with the landlords and the industrial lobby.

Hence, this repression in the name of restoring law and order there,” they said. “The government must give Rs 10 lakh as compensation to the families of the two killed in police firing and proper financial aid to tribal peasants, who sustained bullet injuries during the November 20 police firing,” they added.

Further, they debunked government claim that the police opened fire in self-defense only when the CMAS supporters attacked them. “The killing of CMAS functionary, K Singana Andrew Nachika, was a well-plotted murder executed by the state police with the help of IRB and CRPF. It wasn’t in self defence,” they maintained.

CMAS workers went to Narayanpatna police station to talk to the officer in-charge over why they were being harassed by the police in the name of combing operations.

“But the police, instead of solving the problem, opened fire,” they alleged.

The police however rubbished the charges. “Breaking and entering the police station, snatching of arms and attempt to loot them are not signs of peaceful gathering.

Police acted only when the protesters resorted to violence and vandalism,” the police officer added.

Meanwhile, the people’s union for civil liberties (PUCL), in a press release issued here, criticized police action on tribals at Narayanpatna.

“The PUCL is of the opinion that instead of addressing the real issues for which the CMAS has been fighting for, the government is adopting a policy of repression, torture and terror to suppress the legitimate aspirations of the adivasis,” convenor of PUCL-Bhubaneswar unit, Pramodini Pradhan said. TOI

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