BHUBANESWAR, Jan. 31. — The family members of 12 tribals, who were killed in the Kalinga Nagar police firing on 2 January, have refused to receive the compensation of Rs 5 lakh released by the state government.
Official sources said that Jajpur collector Mr Aurobindo Padhee had visited Kalinga Nagar and talked to the bereaved families twice. Though he had tried to persuade the families to receive the compensation nobody was willing to do so apparently fearing threats from the agitating tribals.
They refused to receive the compensation amount unless the seven-point demands of Bisthapan Birodhi Janamancha, the organisation spearheading the road blockade at Kalinga Nagar, were fulfilled, said a senior official.
A sum of Rs 60 lakh has already been deposited in the bank for the payment of compensation to the next of kin of firing victims. However, nobody is prepared to receive the same from the bank, he said.
The next of kin of all the 12 deceased tribals have been identified by the district administration. However, no one is coming forward to claim the compensation amount, said the official.
Meanwhile, the Central government has communicated that it had sanctioned the compensation of Rs 5 lakh each to the bereaved families and asked the state government to submit a list of next of kin of all the firing victims. The list was sent to the Centre today.
Confiding that restoration of normalcy in Kalinga Nagar was the real challenge before government, official sources said that the government does not want to take any confrontationist attitude with the tribals. It has turned out to be a political issue which should be handled politically, said these sources.
Yesterday, the tribals resolved not to receive any amount from the government unless and until their demands were fulfilled. Interestingly, Rabindranath Jarika whose release from jail was one of the major demands of agitating tribals, while addressing the meeting after the release, alleged that the government was trying to misguide the tribals over his release.
“I was enlarged on conditional bail on a petition filed by me, the government has nothing to do with my bail,” he said. He also pointed out that he had provided the security and fulfilled other conditions as stipulated by the court. “How can the government make any claim on my released,” he asked.
Effectively, the twin moves of the government to broker peace with the announcement of compensation and bail of Jarika have failed to impress the tribals. — SNS