Bhubaneswar, Mar 15 (UNI) Holi, was celebrated with much pomp and gaiety in Orissa but Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik and some of his partymen did not celebrate the festival to express their, sympathy towards the victims of January 2 Kalinga Nagar police firing, in which 13 tribals were killed.
Some ruling party leaders and workers today went to Naveen Nivas, the residence of the Chief Minister to celebrate Holi but they were frustrated when the Chief Minister asked them not to celebrate the festival.
The Chief Minister also advised his partymen to keep away from celebrating the Holi festival as a tribute to the 13 tribals, killed in police firing. The BJP, the alliance partner of the BJD, also asked its cadre and party members not to celebrate the festivals of colours in memory of the tribal victims of police firing.
On the other hand, the leaders and workers of other Opposition political parties, including the Congress, were seen celebrating the festival.
Former Chief Minister and leader of Opposition in the Assembly J B Pattnaik, however, described the Chief Minister's decision not to celebrate the Holi this year in the wake of the Kalinga Nagar incident was nothing but a ''political gimmick''.
He said it was the Chief Minister, who was ''solely responsible'' for the Kaling Nagar police firing that claimed the lives of 13 innocent tribal people. The Chief Minister, he said, even did not find time to visit the area to express his sympathy to the bereaved families even two months after the incident.
The agitated tribals of Kalinga Nagar had been resorting to economic blockade since January 2 to protest the police firing. They had been demanding the resignation of the Chief Minister, Finance Minister and criminal proceedings against the District Collector and the Superintendent of Police.
Though both Centre and the state Governments had announced an ex-gratia of Rs 5 lakh to the next kin of those killed in police firing, the family members had refused to accept the compensation.
The state Government had already instituted a judicial probe into the incident and a sitting Orissa High Court Judge had commenced the probe into the incident.
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