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5 Odisha villagers killed in cop-Maoist crossfire in Kandhamal

Bhubaneswar, July 9: Five civilians, including two women, two men and a child were killed in a crossfire between Maoists and security forces in the Malapanga forest near Mugudumaha in Kamdhamal district late on Friday.

The mishap occurred when victims were returning from Kuttamagarh to their village Mugudumaha by an auto-rickshaw when the vehicle came in the line of firing that was on between the security personnel and the ultras in the dense forest.

The deceased were identified as Kukula Digal, former Naib Sarapanch of Parampanga panchayat, Luta Digal, Timiri Mallick, Bringuili Mallick and Midialli Mallick, sources said. Besides the child, all other victims were aged about 30-40 years-old.

Now the question that inevitably arises that whether the security personnel adopted the standard operating procedure (SOP) by blocking the route before entering into the gun battle.

Earlier too, a couple was killed in a Maoists-security forces encounter in Kandhamal district while nine were killed in Kalahandi and one in Nuapada districts recently.

Terming the incident as unfortunate, Kamdhamal SP Pinak Mishra said a thorough probe will be conducted into the circumstances leading to the civilians’ killing.

Angry over the killing of the innocent civilians and their co-villagers , locals blocked the Gopalpur-Raipur NH-224 near Paramapanga demanding immediate withdrawal of CRPF personnel from the area and Rs 50 lakh compensation to the kin of the deceased.

Meanwhile, Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik ordered a judicial inquiry into the incident and announced compensation of Rs 5 lakh for the family of each deceased.

He also announced jobs for the kin of the deceased, besides directing the concerned authorities to include the bereaved families under the social security scheme of the State Government. 

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