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Last Updated: Thursday, 5 January 2006, 17:49 GMT
Orissa clash officers transferred
Sandeep Sahu
BBC News, Bhubaneswar

Relatives mourn the dead at the funeral
Five tribal bodies returned by police are missing hands
Two senior district officials in India's eastern Orissa state have been transferred following bloody clashes between police and tribal protesters.

Twelve tribespeople and a policeman died after officers opened fire on protesters at the site of a planned steel plant at Kalinganagar on Monday.

Three doctors who conducted autopsies on protesters have also been suspended.

There was outrage after five of the bodies were returned to relatives with the hands cut off.

Police say they opened fire after being attacked with arrows.


The dismissal of senior local officials had been a key demand of the tribespeople.

They have been blocking a main road near Kalinganagar in Jajpur district, 120km (80 miles) north of state capital Bhubaneswar, since Monday in protest at the killings.

On Thursday the state government said Jajpur district magistrate Sawant Mishra, and police superintendent Vinaytosh Mishra had been transferred.

Tribespeople want the two men to be prosecuted for manslaughter.

Protesters say police chopped off the hands from the five bodies in revenge for the killing of a policeman, who was hacked to death by protesters on Monday.

Police Superintendent Mishra said removing hands was standard procedure for unidentified bodies.

"The rules say the palms have to be chopped off for finger-printing if the deceased is unidentified. The doctors who conducted the post mortem merely went by the rule book," he said.

But legal experts are not convinced. Former law minister Narasingha Mishra told the BBC it was "a gross violation of human rights".


The government also announced an increase in compensation for tribal families whose relatives died in the clashes.

Orissa Chief Minister Navin Patnaik said compensation for each of the dead would rise to 500,000 rupees (nearly $11,190) compared to an earlier figure of 100,000 rupees (about $2,200).

Those injured will get 50,000 rupees (nearly $1,120).

The government has also promised a job in the public sector for the next of kin of each of those killed.

Tribespeople have not reacted yet to the government's announcements. They were demanding twice the amount in compensation for each of the dead.

The tribespeople refuse to give up land they regard as theirs for the planned Tata Steel plant.

They say they have not been adequately compensated for the land or offered alternative livelihoods.

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