//Slashed genitals in glare

Slashed genitals in glare

Bhubaneswar, Jan. 13: The tribal victims of the Kalinga Nagar police firing not only had the hands cut off but also their genitals, rights bodies alleged today. The Organisation for the Protection of Democratic Rights said it learnt about this from the families of the six tribals whose bodies had been taken away for post-mortem. Its general secretary, C. Bhaskar Rao, said the genital organs of all six — one of whom was a woman — had been chopped off or mutilated.

Local rights activist Sudhir Patnaik said the tribals had initially wanted to protest the barbarity but later clammed up out of shame and fear of social stigma. He alleged one of the bodies had had a breast missing.Jajpur collector Arabinda Padhee, who yesterday visited the four villages in Kalinga Nagar from where the victims came, confirmed that a few grieving tribals had spoken about this. Padhee had gone there with the chairman of the National Commission for Scheduled Tribes, Kunwar Singh, who is touring Orissa.

“We have taken note of the allegations. If such a thing has happened we would take it very seriously. I would bring it under a judicial probe. But first I would have to check the veracity of the allegations,” Padhee told The Telegraph.But he admitted that it would be almost impossible to find out the truth because the bodies have been cremated.

“The media, rights activists and politicians have all been there in Kalinga Nagar for the past 12 days,” Padhee said. “It is surprising that nobody drew this to their notice. None of the villagers told me about this when I first met them on January 8.” Twelve tribals, protesting against construction on land bought by the Tatas for a steel plant, died in police firing on January 2. When the six bodies taken away for autopsy were returned, five of them had their hands missing from the wrist.

The police claimed that this was the only way to get fingerprints and identify the bodies whose faces had been mutilated — a theory contested by both forensic experts and former police officers. As the tribals seethed at this explanation and the Opposition joined rights bodies in protest, the government suspended the three doctors who had carried out the autopsy. The doctors, backed by senior district health officials, said they were merely following police orders. The tribals are yet to lift the blockade at Ambagadia on the Paradip-Daitari expressway, continuing since January 2.
Telegraph, jan 14, 2006, DEBABARATA MOHANTY