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Naveen Patnaik invites protesting tribals for talk

Patnaik wants to end the yearlong road blockade in Jajpur district through the talks.

india Updated: Jan 25, 2007 16:22 IST

Orissa Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik has invited the tribal body Visthapan Birodhi Jana Manch (VBJM) for talks on January 31 to end a yearlong road blockade in Jajpur district, said an official in Bhubaneswar on Thursday.

Hundreds of activists of the Jana Manch have been continuously blocking a road in the coastal district of Jajpur, some 100 kms from Bhubaneswar, after 13 tribals were killed by police firing protesting a construction of Tata Steel, in the region on Jan 2 last year.

The protesters were demanding action against the then district police and administrative chief, adequate compensation for their land and for the families of the people killed.

They also called for the resignation of state Finance Minister Prafulla Chandra Ghadei who represents the area in the legislative assembly. The tribal leaders wanted the government to withdraw all police complaints registered against the tribals in connection with the incident.

The state government assured several times to look into their demands but has failed to persuade the activists to lift the blockade.

"We have received the invitation letter," Rabindra Jarika, secretary of the BVJM, said. "However we have not yet decided on it," he added.

First Published: Jan 25, 2007 16:22 IST