Bhubaneswar: A dawn-to-dusk shutdown by an anti-mining group to protest the killing of two people in a police gunfight crippled life in parts of Orissa Monday, police said.
Normal life was severely affected in villages and towns under Jharbandh, Padampur and Paikmal block in Bargarh district with shops shuttered and commercial vehicles off the roads. Private and commercial establishments were found closed in the region due to the shutdown, which has been supported by opposition parties, including the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) and the Congress.
The impact was also seen on schools and colleges, private and government establishments with many of them either closed or recording thin attendance, a senior police officer from the region told a news agency.
Gandhamardan Suraksha Yuva Parishad (GSYP) called the shutdown accusing the police of killing Madhav Singh Thakur and Ramesh Sahu Dec 26 at the Gandhamardan Hill range, about 500 km from here. Police claimed the two were Maoists and were killed during a gunfight with the police, but the protesters said the police claim was not true.
The GSYP has been spearheading a campaign to protect Gadhamardan Hills in the district from mining over the past 20 years. Parisad leader Pradip Purohit said Thakur and Sahu were prominent members of their organisation and also members of the BJP.
"Police killed them in a calculated move to weaken the anti-mining agitation," he said. "We want a Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) probe into the incident. We also want actions against the policemen who committed the crime," he said.
Meanwhile, a person claiming to be a Maoist area commander informed a journalist in the region over phone that the two people killed in the gunfight were not Maoists. An official said the people were trying to ascertain the conversation and the caller`s number.