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Seven persons burn to death in Orissa
BERHAMPUR, May 1 (Agencies):
Published on 1 May. 2011 10:06 PM IST
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Seven persons were burnt to death by a mob at an illegal stone crusher unit near a village in Ganjam district. Police suspect that the gruesome incident was the fallout of a long-running dispute between the unit owners and residents of Sheragada block’s Badaguda village, 60 km from Berhampur.
Police said the deceased included three owners of the crusher unit -- Tushar Kanta Padhy (34), Pitabash Padhy (30) and Prasanna Kumar Patnaik (30). A fourth victim was identified as Siba Kuamr Padhy (40). Three other bodies, including that of a woman, were yet to be identified. Police suspect they were employees of the unit.
Police said the violence took place late on Friday when a large number of villagers attacked a house where the victims were staying. The mob probably used diesel and detonators stocked at the crusher unit to burn the house, they added. A villager said residents of Badaguda were opposed to the establishment of the unit and stone quarrying near their village. On Friday, there was a rumour that the unit owners were sending some goons to teach the villagers a lesson. This triggered the mob frenzy, the villager added.
Police, however, refused to confirm this. “Although there was a dispute over the crusher unit, but we are still investigation about the sudden provocation for the violence,” said DIG (southern range) RK Sharma.
He added that a forensic team and sniffer dog were pressed into service for speeding the investigation.
At least five platoons of police forces were deployed at the village to maintain law and order. “The situation at the village is quite normal now. No one has been arrested as yet,” said SP (Ganjam) Nitinjit Singh.
The incident has once brought illegal stone quarries and crusher units operating in Ganjam district. The crusher unit near Badaguda village was established in the name of Prasanna Kumar Patnaik. It, however, started operations without taking permission from the state pollution control board. The stone quarry at Sindhiguda, near the village, was also found to be operation on the sly.
“Although, Patnaik had taken a one-year lease to operate the stone quarry at Sindhiguda, but he did not have any agreement on operations with the administration,” said tehsildar (Sheragada) S.Ch. Mohapatra. “We had given a no-objection certificate to set up the unit, but no consent was given to operate the unit,” said assistant environmental engineer of the regional office of the state pollution control board office in Berhampur M M Murmu.
Last year, illegal quarrying by crusher unit owners also came to light in Digapahndi area when a person died in blasting near Bhismagiri. Tehsildar of Digapahandi had cracked down at least five such quarry lease holders in the area, sources said.

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