Bhubaneswar, Jan. 15: Kalinga Nagar’s brush with bad news continued today with a gun going off inside the police station and grievously injuring an assistant sub-inspector.
The mysterious firing ' variously described as an accident and a suspected suicide bid ' adds to a list of unfortunate events that have unfolded in the industrial complex over the last fortnight.
On January 2, as many as 12 tribals were killed in police firing when a protest against alleged inadequate compensation for land acquired for a steel plant spiralled out of control.
A tribal blockade on a key highway has been continuing since then, the protesters’ anger fed by revelations that the palms and private parts of some of the dead were cut off during autopsy.
The assistant sub-inspector, Narayan Samal, was apparently loading his revolver at 7.15 pm when the gun went off and the bullet pierced his neck. Unconfirmed reports said Samal shot himself due to frustration in domestic life, but the inspector-in-charge, K.C. Parida said it was an accident that happened in front of his eyes.
Sources said Samal was also part of the police squad which opened fire on the tribals but added that they were not sure whether the tragedy and the shooting were linked.
Samal was rushed to a health centre first and later to the SCB Medical College in Cuttack, about 80 km away. His condition is said to be critical.
“It happened in the full glare of all officers. Samal was cleaning and loading the revolver. It must have gone off. We will inquire about it later,” superintendent of police Asit Panigrahi said.
News of the gunshot injury came as the controversy over the autopsies escalated.
Irked by the allegation that the genitals of six tribals had been chopped off, 13 doctors of the Jajpur district headquarters hospital today decided that they would not conduct post-mortems.
“We are scared. We are not forensic specialists. In the absence of definite guidelines, we would not do autopsies. The government can send bodies to the medical colleges,” said Rajkishore Panda, an eye specialist.
But the chief district medical officer, Chandramani Biswal, claimed that the matter had been sorted out.