Orissa BJP leader, businessman killed, families cry foul

Thursday, December 30, 2010

BHUBANESWAR - A Bharatiya Janata Party leader and a businessman were killed by police earlier this week in a staged shootout in Orissa’s Bargarh district, family members of the victims alleged Thursday. An government inquiry has been ordered.

Police claimed BJP leader Madhav Singh Thakur and Ramesh Sahu were killed in an exchange of fire that took place late Monday at the Gandhamardan hill range, about 500 km from here.

Inspector General of Police (Operation) Sanjeev Marik said the gun battle took place after police raided a rebel camp. Both were linked to the outlawed Communist Party of India-Maoist, he told IANS.

However, family members of the victims refuted the claim.

A senior home department official said the government has asked the local administration to conduct an inquiry into the incident.

Madhav was the president of BJP’s Paikmal block unit. He was in no way linked to Maoist activities, his brother Gunakar Thakur told reporters.

“He was popular for his social activities,” he said.

“Ramesh was a businessman and everybody in the area knew him. He was never involved in Maoist activities,” Sahu’s uncle Hrusikesh said.

The BJP here said it has sent a four-member team to the area to collect details of the incident.

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