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The Odisha Human Rights Commission (OHRC) today sought an action-taken report from district authorities in Malkangiri over a petition seeking protection for people living in the area under Maoist threat. OHRC has sought within six weeks the response from the District Collector and the Superintendent of Police of Malkangiri over the matter, which was transferred to it by the National Human Rights Commission (NHRC). Some months ago the affected villagers, mostly tribals, had visited the Collector's office in Malakangiri, seeking administration's help and adequate security at their villages. The local administration had provided them with basic amenities and settled them in temporary shelters in the district headquarters, even as incidents of villagers being killed allegedly by Maoists continued to be reported from the region. Human rights activist Sangita Swain had moved the NHRC, "seeking justice" for the people of Andrapalli and Panaspat in Malkangiri district. Swain had alleged that Maoists tortured and killed tribal people suspecting them to be police informers and set houses on fire and their human rights were violated by the inaction/ unlawful action by the Police/Public authority in Malkangiri. She had sought protection of the tribals from the Maoists and payment of compensation of Rs 20 lakh to the kin of those killed and Rs five lakh to other victims. She had claimed that the tribal people were leaving their villages "out of fear". The OHRC order said the Collector and the SP of Malkangiri district be provided the copy of the petition filed by Swain, as it posted the next hearing in the case to November 25.
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