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Last Updated: Wednesday, 11 January 2006, 16:43 GMT
Gandhi pays homage to Orissa dead
Funeral in Orissa
Mrs Gandhi laid a wreath for those who lost their lives
India's governing Congress party leader Sonia Gandhi has paid homage to those killed when police opened fire on protesters last week in Orissa state.

Mrs Gandhi said families would receive 600,000 rupees ($13,000) compensation for each the 12 tribespeople killed.

She laid a wreath at the site where the tribal protesters had been cremated.

The tribespeople were among hundreds demonstrating against a controversial steel mill planned in the state. A policeman also died in the violence.


Sonia Gandhi was accompanied by Home Minister Shivraj Patil on her visit to the Kalinganagar site, where the deaths occurred.

She said those injured in the clashes would each receive 20,000 rupees ($450). Last week, the state's chief minister put the figure at 50,000 rupees (nearly $1,120) for every injured person.

The tribal protesters say the land on which the Tata Steel mill is due to be built belongs to them.

A strike called by a coalition of groups fighting for tribal rights in Orissa's five southern districts paralysed normal life in the area on Wednesday.

Angry tribespeople are continuing to block a key route into Kalinganagar.

Their demands include a complete halt to the acquisition of land for steel plants in the area and the sacking of Orissa's Chief Minister Navin Patnaik and his Finance Minister Prafulla Chandra Ghadei.

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