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BJD justifies Kalinga Nagar firing

Published by MAC on 2006-01-29

BJD justifies Kalinga Nagar firing

by Statesman News Service, BHUBANESWAR

29th January 2006

Clearly unnerved by the beating it has taken on the Kalinga Nagar police firing incident, BJD leaders virtually went wild in essaying a counter reply today. Some of the bewildering statements ranged from - "those killed were not local tribals, they were goons from neighbouring Jharkhand" to the oft repeated charge that the incident itself was designed by the Opposition.

Taking the opportunity of a meeting organised by its farmers wing, most of the ruling BJD leaders touched upon the Kalinga Nagar police firing of 2 January in which 12 tribals and a policeman were killed.

Mr Prasanna Patsani, the BJD MP, went off in a tangent saying those killed were goons from Jharkhand.

He said the incident had taken place after one policeman was killed. It was natural for the police to react when they saw their colleague being murdered, he observed referring to the firing that followed.
Each of the speakers blamed the Congress and recalled the instances of police firing that had taken place during the Congress rule in the state.

But agriculture minister Mr Surendranath Nayak sought to draw an interestingly division within the Congress and the BJP. The Congress leadership and state BJP president are voicing demands which are rejected by their own Central leaders, he said. Mr Juel Oram, the state BJP president, has taken a stand on the Kalinga Nagar issue whereas all others including his ministers in the government and national president Mr Rajnath Singh have different views.
Similarly, Mr JB Patnaik is demanding resignation of chief minister Mr Naveen Patnaik while Mrs Sonia Gandhi refused to do so when she visited Kalinga Nagar, he added.

Several BJD leaders questioned the logic of demanding the resignation of the chief minister and the finance minister. "How can they be held responsible, did they go there and fire upon the people," asked finance minister Mr Prafulla Ghadei.

The district magistrate and SP have been transferred and a judicial probe ordered, said Mr Ghadei to drive home the point that the government had taken necessary action after the incident.

The BJD leaders then went on to accuse the Opposition of having instigated tribals and caused the trouble because they were scared of the popularity of Mr Naveen Patnaik and his pro-tribal image.
"Economic prosperity and progress cannot be achieved if we shy away from industrialisation," they said before adding that it had to go hand-in-hand with agricultural development.

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