SOP not adhered during Kandhamal encounter

SOP not adhered during Kandhamal encounter: Oraon

Bhubaneswar, July 14 (IANS) Chairman of National Commission for Scheduled Tribes (NCST) Rameswar Oraon on Wednesday said that security personnel did not follow the Standard Operating Procedure (SOP) during the anti-Maoist operation which led to the death of six innocent tribals in Kandhamal district.

He also rejected the police version that the villagers were caught in the crossfire.

“It appears that the SOP was not followed by the security personnel during the anti-Maoist operation. There was no intelligence input that the Maoists were moving in a vehicle. The security personnel had the information that the Maoists are moving on foot. But, they fired on the general people who were moving on the vehicle,” he told reporters at Baliguda after reviewing the situation in the district.

“Why did they fire at the vehicle when they had specific information that the Naxals were moving on foot?” asked the NCST chairman.

Describing the incident as unfortunate, he said the district administration and also the state administration is accepting that it should not have happened.

He said the state government needs to ensure that such incidents do not occur in future.

As the state government has ordered a judicial probe and probe by the Special Investigation Team (SIT), Oraon said the probe should be completed in time.

“It does not matter who will investigate the case. What I suggest is that the investigation has to be time-bound as defined by the Supreme Court. A reasonable time-bound inquiry should be completed within 90 days,” he added.

He also suggested to the Odisha government to conduct psychiatric test of the Special Operations Group (SOG) jawans allegedly involved in the killing of five villagers recently.

At least six tribals, including two women and a two-year-old boy, were killed during an anti-Maoist operation in Kandhamal on July 8.

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