Tribals in Kandhamal allege police atrocities

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Bhubaneswar, Oct 19: The tribals in strife-torn Kandhamal have alleged large scale police atrocities in clear violation of human rights and urged the Orissa Human Rights Commission to intervene and conduct a fair probe to punish the guilty.

''The CRPF jawans, deployed in the trouble-torn district in the wake of communal violence, are raiding the houses in the dead of the night in the absence of the male members, who have fled to the forest fearing police action, and assaulting the women members,'' the Vanavasi Kalyan Ashram (VKA) said at a news conference here today.

VKA general secretary L K Das, in a memorandum to the State Human Rights Commission and Women Commission, demanded a high-level independent inquiry into the alleged police atrocities on women in Kandhamal.

''A large number of innocent people, mostly Kandhs, including women and children, are still bearing the brunt of the police atrocities for no fault of theirs,'' the VKA said and urged the Human Rights Commission to uphold the law of the land.

The VKA general secretary said the minority community, who had taken shelter in the relief camps, had been busy filing FIRs using the voters list, accusing the tribals for their involvement in the riots.

The CRPF and police, accompanying the minority community, were assaulting the people and indiscriminately arresting them, he alleged, adding that even the minority community people were dressed up in police uniform to identify the tribals during raids in the villages.

Mr Das further alleged that the police were entering the houses forcibly, knowing fully well that male members had fled to the jungles.

''Unable to bear the police torture, the women, who had gone to the police stations to lodge FIRs against the CRPF jawans, were being threatened to be arrested and sent to jail if they lodged any complaint,'' he added.

Pramila Pradhan, of Sishupanka village, and Bullima Mallick, of Pajima village, under Raikia police station, alleged that the Christians had threatened to retaliate against them once they returned to their village from the relief camp. They told newspersons that the CRPF jawans were taking away their vegetables from the field and snatching hens and goats during their raids in the villages and anybody protesting against such actions was facing their wrath.

The VKA, in its memorandum to the Human Rights Commission, cited several examples in which the CRPF jawans had outraged the modesty of women who protested against their unlawful actions.

A woman in Gasabeda village was allegedly molested by a CRPF jawan. Allegations of torture of women by the police were also pouring in from Gochhapada, Udayagiri, Raikia and Firingia.

The memorandum alleged that while women were taking bath at Jignia village, nearly 20 CRPF jawans arrived at the spot and molested eight women.In Mandakia village, the women were sexually abused and the males were beaten up.

Two minor girls of Gaonala village under Gadguda Panchayat were taken to the police station after their mother was mercilessly beaten up. The two minor girls were kept in the police station and sent to jail the next day without any medical examination, the VKA general secretary alleged.


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