RAYAGADA, India – The town of Rayagada in India came to a standstill on Friday as protestors demanded a CBI probe into the mysterious death of a tribal woman, Laxmi Majhi. Her half-burnt body was found on the premises of Chandrapur community health centre (CHC) on December 21, sparking outrage and calls for justice from the local community.
The bandh called by Zilla Adivasi Mahasangh and the local BJP resulted in deserted roads, closed businesses, and shuttered government and private offices. The protest, which lasted from dawn to dusk, aimed to draw attention to the case of Laxmi Majhi and demand answers regarding her death.
The agitators expressed frustration, stating that 16 days had passed since the 28-year-old tribal woman’s body was discovered, yet the police and Crime Branch had made no significant progress in solving the case. They believe that Laxmi was murdered elsewhere and her body was set on fire on the CHC premises to destroy evidence, but the circumstances surrounding her death remained a mystery.
This case is not an isolated incident, according to the protestors, who also brought up the deaths of tribal youth leaders Bhagirathi Mandangi and Purushottam Gamango under similar mysterious circumstances in the past. They demand justice for these individuals and also called for a CBI investigation into all three deaths.
The peaceful bandh saw a heavy police presence, ensuring that no untoward incidents occurred. Laxmi, who was a physically challenged woman, had been working as a warden in ‘Maa Gruha’ on the Chandrapur CHC premises for the last five years. Her family alleges that she was raped and set ablaze by miscreants to destroy evidence, leading to the filing of an FIR with the police.
The local unit of BJP Mahila Morcha observed a six-hour bandh in Rayagada over the issue, and a team from the Crime Branch visited Chandrapur CHC to investigate and collect forensic evidence from the room where Laxmi’s body was found.
The community continues to seek justice for Laxmi, Mandangi, and Gamango, hoping for a breakthrough in the investigation and resolution of these mysterious deaths. This case, along with the demand for a CBI probe, has brought attention to the ongoing concerns surrounding the deaths of these individuals in Rayagada.