Bhubaneswar, July 16: Coming down heavily on Odisha government over the killing of five civilians during an anti-Maoist operation in Kandhamal, BJP today accused the ruling BJD of being habituated with forging understanding with naxals for electoral gains.
"In order to win elections, the BJD has always been entering into understanding with the Maoists. This is an old habit of Naveen Patnaik," BJP national vice-president Vinay Sahasrabuddhe, who returned after leading a three-member central team to Kandhamal, alleged at a press meet here.
Describing the Kandhamal tragedy as a grim chapter involving killing of helpless and innocent people, the BJP delegation alleged that Naveen Patnaik government was not at all serious about the incident that took place in the tribal-dominated district on the night of July 8.
Justifying the claim, Sahasrabuddhe said neither the Chief Minister nor the tribal welfare minister visited the site of the incident or met the families of the victims though a week had elapsed since the tragedy. "Such an attitude is unfortunate and condemnable," he said.
The BJP leader alleged that there was an attempt to cover up and destroy evidence about the killings. The arrested Maoist leader Sabyasachi Panda continued to control the outlawed organisation from jail, claimed Sahasrabuddhe, who was accompanied by BJP general secretaries Ramvichar Netam and Jyoti Dhurve to Kandhamal.
Demanding inquiry into the incident by a sitting judge of the High Court, he said such a probe is essential as the ruling BJD is trying to "cover up the incident". Accusing the district administration of failing to protect people, Dhurve and Netam said the BJP delegation met the family members and relatives of the victims and also heard eyewitness accounts during their visit to Kandhamal.
Terming the incident as "inhuman and barbaric", the delegation members accused the BJD government of failing to bring development in the backward district, besides being unable to ensure safety and security of the poor people.
They said they would submit a report on the incident to the Prime Minister as well as party president Amit Shah. Quick action needs to be taken to safeguard the interest of the people of Odisha, particularly those in backward areas like Kandhamal, they said.