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Odisha – Illegal Arrest of Human Rights activist, documentary film maker and writer #WTFnews



The Illegal Arrest Of Debaranjan Sarangi




BY- Biswapriya Kanungo & Trijeeb Nanda

The extent of dissent permitted is the best parameter to judge the democraticness of a country. But the government enslaved by neo-liberal ideology treats dissent as the devil. Extra-judicial execution, implication in false and fabricated cases, illegal arrest and detention has become an integral part of governance for silencing any kind of dissent.

The poor tribals of Odisha fighting for their land and life and the poor human rights activists supporting their fights are the perpetual victims of this technique of governance.


In the early morning of 18th March 2016, Debaranjan Sarangi, a Human Rights Activist, was picked up by plainclothes police from the Kucheipadar village of Rayagada District, Odisha. Debaranjan was in Kucheipadar to attain a funeral ceremony of one of his friends’ father. The police claims of arresting Debaranjan while executing a non-bailable warrant issued by the court of JMFC, Kashipur, in pursuance of a criminal case registered in the Tikri police station of Raygada District in 2005. Everyone including his advocate was clueless about the whereabouts of Debaranjan, till he was produced before the court of JMFC, Kashipur, in the evening. Without considering his bail application the court extended his remand till 22nd March 2016.

Debaranjan is a friend of poor, dalit, tribal and many ongoing human rights struggles within and outside Odisha. He is well known as a writer, filmmaker, and human rights activists. He has consistently criticized and exposed policies of destructive development, rampant mining practices, displacement, police impunity, the ugly politics of Hindutva and recently issues of farmers’ suicide in Odisha.

Debaranjan was also a part of Prakrutika Sampad Surakhya Parisad (PSSP), which strongly resisted against the operation of mining by Utkal Aluminium International Limited (UAIL) in Kashipur. For which probably this case was labeled against him by the state police as a gift for supporting the cause of innocent adivasi. We condemn this illegitimate attempt of state to silence the voice of an activist.

We also condemned the issue of Non-bailable Warrant (NBW) by the court and the execution of the same by the police. Right to life and liberty is a non-derogable fundamental right guaranteed under the Indian constitution, the deprivation of which must be in accordance with due process of law (Art.21). Further as per the apex court, for deprivation of liberty the due process of law requires both ‘the procedure’ as well as ‘the law’ to be just, fair and reasonable (Maneka Gandhi v. Union of India). In the instant case, the issue of NBW by the concern judicial magistrate is not in consonance with the guidelines issued by the Supreme Court (SC).

In Inder Mohan Goswami & Anr. Vs. State of Uttaranchal while dealing with the question:- how and when warrants should be issued by the Court? The top court held that: “Non-bailable warrant should be issued to bring a person to court when summons or bailable warrants would be unlikely to have the desired result. T

his could be when: it is reasonable to believe that the person will not voluntarily appear in court; or the police authorities are unable to find the person to serve him with a summon, or it is considered that the person could harm someone if not placed into custody immediately” Again in Raghuvansh Dewanchand Bhasin vs State Of Maharashtra & Anr the SC issued guidilines on issuance of NBW, this inter alia says; “The Courts should not give a long time for return or execution of warrants, as experience has shown that warrants are prone to misuse if they remain in control of executing agencies for long.”


In this decade-old case the only non-bailable charge labeled against Debaranjan is under Section.506 of IPC. Furthermore, he was never informed about the submission of charg-sheet in the case, no notice for appearance by police or court was served to him on any earlier occasion. Furthermore, since Debaranjan is a socially active person and a law abiding citizens the court could have issued a bailable warrant against him. In addition to this, even the procedure followed by the police is also unjust, unfair and unreasonable.


The SC Directives issued in D.K Basu v State of West Bengal (AIR 1997 SC 610), which was later incorporated in Criminal Procedure Code, inter alia requires that: the police personnel carrying out arrest must bear accurate, visible and clear identification/ name tags with their designation. The arrest memo must be attested by the family members or a respectable person of the locality, which should be counter-signed by the accused.

The arrested person is entitled to inform a person interested in his welfare about his arrest and to meet an advocate during interrogation. The SC has further directed that departmental action and contempt of court proceeding should be initiated against those who failed to follow above-mentioned directives. In the instant case, the police came in plain clothes, neither with uniform nor any name tag with the designation.

The relatives or family members were also not informed; even he was not given any opportunity to meet his advocate. Hence, we demand appropriate action against the police personnel for violating the safeguards for arrest and the rights of Debaranjan. – See more at:

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Dalits protest atrocities in Odisha; stopped on way to CM’s residence

Reported by Santosh Jagdev

Bhubaneswar, Aug 2:

Hundreds of dalits of the city, under the banner of National Confederation of Dalit Organisations (NACDOR), Odisha branch, today marched towards Chief Minister’s Naveen Patnaik’s residence here staging a protest against police inaction and the State Government’s silence in cases of atrocities on Dalits in the state.

Photo: Biswaranjan Mishra

The agitators were stopped on their way to the chief minister’s residence by police personnel at Sishu Bhawan chhack under Capital police limits. Police personnel had to resort to a mild lathi charge as the angry agitators ignored the police warning not to enter the area where prohibitory orders under Section 144 of the Indian Penal Code were in force.

Around 40 persons, including women, courted arrest while five office bearers of NACDOR, including Ashok Mallick, Litu Das and Sukant Bhoi, were arrested and forwarded to a local court here.

The trigger for today’s protest was the alleged police inaction in a case in which a dalit family of Badatota village under Jatni police limits had been subjected to physical torture and mental harassment by some powerful persons of the same village eight days ago.

Earlier, NACDOR members had informed twin city Commissioner of Police Dr R P Sharma and some concerned bureaucrats by submitting a memorandum on July 27 asking them to take appropriate action against the culprits in the aforesaid case.

They had also demanded protection to the dalits in the state but had failed to get any justice.The next day, the outfit members, along with hundreds of dalits, had staged a protest rally at the Lower PMG here demanding justice on the dalit atrocity cases in state.

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The Niyamgiri Movement as a Landmark of Democratic Process


By Felix Padel

Vikalp Sangam

The Gram Sabhas that took place in a dozen villages in Niyamgiri in July-August 2013, in compliance with a Supreme Court Judgement in April, show India’s democratic process at its best. Democracy, though undermined by top-down policies throughout the Scheduled Areas, is intrinsic to Adivasi society.

What is characteristic of an Adivasi meeting is the openness that allows everyone to have their say, without any threat of force in the background – Government or Maoist, corporate or party political.

It is true, as many say, that the democratic institutions of ‘Panchayati Raj’ guaranteed under India’s Constitution, and more fully spelt out in the PESA (Panchayat – Extension to Scheduled Areas) Act 1996, and the Forest Rights Act, should guarantee a working democracy in tribal areas, but in practice do not, for a variety of reasons – most state governments have done little to implement PESA, the FRA has been poorly implemented in many places, and tribal people themselves often question ‘Panchayati Raj’, preferring their traditional councils.1

Traditional tribal councils were called into question by the Birbhum Rape Case, in which a Santal panchayat was widely reported as ordering the rape of a woman who had an affair with an outsider in January 2014. On the basis of this case, The West Bengal Government made a move to ban tribal councils. Tens of thousandsof Santals came to Kolkata to demonstrate against this move. There is considerable gender equality in most tribal councils, which could not differ more e.g. from khap panchayats in Harayana, though the Birbhum case has led them to get confused in many minds. There is considerable evidence that this case was misreported by vested interests – possibly even to undermine the impact of the Niyamgiri meetings? 2

The Niyamgiri Gram Sabhas showed Adivasi democracy at its best, and in many ways are representative of how tribal meetings work. Though I did not witness them, I recently attended a Santal meeting in a village in Jharkhand, and the sense of democratic process there was very strong – allowing everyone to speak, with emphasis on reaching a consensus through allowing a full spectrum of strongly expressed views.

The Supreme Court Judgement calling for Niyamgiri villagers themselves to decide about Vedanta’s mining plans was remarkably enlightened.3  Though many protested the Odisha Government’s decision to carry out votes in just twelve villages, nearest to the contested bauxite deposit, with Maoists advocating a boycott,4  the final result of a unanimous vote against mining in all twelve, confirmed fair play.

This was certainly not a verdict that either Maoists or NGOs influenced. Though several NGOs, including Amnesty, Survival and Action Aid, have played a significant role disseminating the issue internationally, they do not have a presence on the ground, where their role is questioned by grassroots activists, especially Samajvadi Jan Parishad, which worked with Dongria and other locals to organise and speak out in these meetings.

Another new force at work is Foilvedanta, a new kind of organization that includes scholars, lawyers and journalists, and represents horizontal links between activists in different countries, that has reported on the twists and turns in the Niyamgiri case, and has been leading opposition to Vedanta Resources at its base in London in recent years, also exposing the company’s outrageous exploitation in Zambia.5  On Vedanta’s designs on Niyamgiri, Foilvedanta’s conclusion is clear: ‘No doubt Vedanta and the Odisha government have more tricks up their sleeve, but the evidence is now overwhelming that their battle is lost. It is time they gave up and admitted that, for once, Indian democracy has been exercised, and won, from the bottom up.’ 6

The Niyamgiri vote represents not only Dongria, but also many Dalits and members of Bhaujan Samaj, who voted alongside them. Another remarkable aspect of the vote was Dongrias’ repeated rejection of the individual patta on offer under the FRA– validating Marx’s emphasis on communal property, as opposed to individual property, which is characteristic of tribal societies, as well as the basis of communism. Forest Rights Activists have fought hard for tribal rights – but community property rights are much harder to apply for under this Act, and if it ends up privatizing the forest into individual plots, is there a danger it will it turn into a tool of capitalism, undermining forest cohesiveness as well as the fundamental sharing of land and labour that forms the essence of Adivasi society?

The whole Niyamgiri process presents a model of how Indian courts and democracy can work, even in remote tribal areas. The Dongria still practice a largely self-sufficient economy, based on ecological principles, and their assertion of rights over their forests and mountains as a whole should inspire others to assert their rights over common property / natural resources. ‘The mountain is not the Government’s to sell’, as many Dongria have asserted, or in a woman’s words, ‘We need the Mountain and the Mountain needs us’.

The Dongria taboo on cutting forest on the summits (as opposed to the sides, where they carry on shifting cultivation in rotation) presents an indisputable case of biodiversity protected by indigenous custom and an economy based on ecological principles, in line with the original meaning of taboo from another indigenous culture – the Maori in New Zealand, for whom the concept means fundamentally ‘sacred’, and lies at the heart of a comeback of Maori property rights.

By contrast, Public Hearings held by Government authorities in tribal villages on dozens of contentious issues, including Vedanta’s Lanjigarh refinery, steel factories in Chhattisgarh, coal mines in Mahan (MP) and Polavaram dam, represent a travesty of openness and democratic norms in the repression surrounding them, and frequent, systematic misrepresentation by the authorities of what people say as ‘consent’, even when nearly everyone has spoken against a project.

Maoists have supported tribal movements for a fair price for forest produce, for closure of illegal liquor stores and many other important issues. But Maoist support was a ‘kiss of death’ for the Santal platform against police atrocities in West Midnapur in 2008 and the Chasi Mulia Adivasi Sangha in Narayanpatna, south Odisha (2009). Maoists have not created democracy by assassinating class enemies – this policy in Bastar helped create the monster that became Salwa Judum. ‘Security forces’ certainly don’t create democracy by trying to annihilate Maoists. What is needed is attention to the voices of Adivasis and support for their own democratic institutions.

Whether the model of Niyamgiri gram sabhas can be replicated elsewhere is open to question. Dongrias are a tribal society that still retains its traditional politics, an ecology-oriented economy and solidarity based on a strong sense of community. How far can communities in other areas match this kind of solidarity and sheer determination? On the Niyamgiri issue a diverse and influential cross-section of civil society supported the Dongrias – conservationists joining with social activists, since it is clear that this is a society which has maintained protecting its forests as a core value. Grassroots activists, political parties, NGOs and people from many walks of life played a role in this support, even when this was not at all mutually co-ordinated. Whatever these contradictions, the movement’s success is an inspiration, and ways of replicating the basic model of local communities deciding use of their resources democratically need to be found.

But are the Dongria and Niyamgiri out of danger? Or are corporate takeovers likely to increase under a new government whose election received large-scale corporate funding, from Vedanta among other companies, and whose budget plan does not exactly emphasize democratic local control over resources? 7  Notice for another Public Hearing on 30th July for expansion of Vedanta’s Lanjigarh refinery apparently continues the plan for mining bauxite from Niyamgiri, suggestimng that despite the gram sabhaconsensus, Vedanta may be unlikely to yield to democratic outcomes. It has also implied that, if Niyamgiri is not available, another of the neighbouring bauxite mountains might do. Under particular threat is Khandual Mali near Karlapat in Kalahandi, which is also surrounded by Kond villagers who have expressed determination to resist the mining of their mountain. Moreover, the track between Karlapat and the Lanjigarh/Niyamgiri area contains one of the largest unspoilt forests in south Odisha, abode of elephants, leopards and other threatened species, and an industrial-grade mining road here would inevitably have highly damaging impacts.

Whatever the future holds, the movements of Adivasis and other smallscale farmers to hold onto their lands against the takeovers present many models of democratic resistance that civil society needs to recognise and learn from if India’s resource base in its living ecosystems is to survive intact for future generations.

NotePhotos 2 and 3 are not from Niyamgiri. They show an Adivasi village below Khandual Mali (near Karlapat), the mountain under future threat.

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Odisha – State foisting cases on innocent people’

Activists of Campaign Against Fabricated Cases staging a demonstration at Master Canteen square in Bhubaneswar on Sunday.Photo: Lingaraj Panda

Activists of Campaign Against Fabricated Cases staging a demonstration at Master Canteen square in Bhubaneswar on Sunday.Photo: Lingaraj Panda

Rights activists, leaders of mass movements and tribal leaders warned the State government against implicating ‘innocent’ people in false cases.

Activists under the banner of Campaign Against Fabricated Cases (CAFC), Odisha took out a rally and held convention highlighting plights of people, whose near and dear ones were languishing in jail without having involvement in any offence here on Sunday.

“The State government is registering false cases against people, who are fighting displacement. The government is sending innocent people to jails under pressure of corporate houses,” said Narendra Mohanty, convenor of CAFC.

“Oppression, deception, threat and fabrication of cases are some of the vicious tricks being used by the State to put down any kind of dissent by people. Such an approach of the government has let loose a reign of terror among the common people,” Mr. Mohanty said.

Although the number of ‘innocent’ persons languishing in jails is not known, the government often fails to give a credible explanation on encounters carried out by police, said Biswapriya Kanungo, human rights activist.

“In the last one decade, the State government has not allowed an independent inquiry into number encounters that hat taken place. Only in two cases State Human Rights Commission conducted an enquiry and in both the cases police were found guilty,” Mr. Kanungo said.

Activists and leaders of mass movements decided to establish coordination against alleged police atrocity and raise their voice cohesively. Instead of using force to suppress movements against displacement, the government should hold discussions with people.

Read more here-

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Odisha woman sold for Rs 25,000 at public auction in UP ! #WTFnews


Odisha Sun Times Bureau
New Delhi, July 26:

In a shocking incident, a woman from Odisha was allegedly sold at a public auction in Hamirpur district in Uttar Pradesh, a report in the Deccan Herald said on Friday.

According to the report, the auction took place at the baaratghar (community centre) in Jarakhar village and continued till well into Thursday night.

The woman was ultimately bought by the highest bidder, a resident of the same village who paid Rs 25,000 and took possession of her.

The Deccan Herald report, quoting sources, said the woman was originally bought by a resident of Jharakhar village Sohanlal Valmiki, who had worked in Odisha for a few months.

Valmiki had brought the woman to the village a few days back.

“After exploiting the woman for all these days, Valmiki decided to sell her through an auction to get the best price. The initial bid for the hapless woman was for Rs 10,000 which went up to Rs 15,000. The woman, according to the reports, refused to go with an old man who had agreed to pay Rs 15,000. Ultimately, Brijbhan Kori of the same village bought her for Rs 25,000 and took her away,” the newspaper report said, adding, hundreds of curious onlookers were also present when the auction took place.

“We have reports of such an auction. We are investigating it. Stern action will be taken against the guilty if the reports turn out true,” a police officer was quoted as saying.

” Earlier also reports of buying of young girls from Bihar, West Bengal and Jharkhand by UP youths, especially from the western region, have been received.The sex ratio has decreased alarmingly in the western districts in the state and the families are finding it very difficult to get brides for their men,” the Deccan Herald report noted.

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Policy for Mentally Ill Soon, Odisha Govt Tells NHRC

BHUBANESWAR: In a significant move, the Odisha Government has assured the National Human Rights Commission (NHRC) that it will soon adopt a policy for the mentally ill persons to prevent their torture and ensure their cure and rehabilitation.

The rights panel, in an order passed earlier this month, asked the State Government to inform within eight weeks the measures undertaken to adopt the new policy.

The State’s submission came in response to NHRC’s direction in a case involving 35-year-old mentally challenged person Babuni Behera of Puri’s Gop block. Babuni had been kept in chains for the last 10 years.

The Puri-based Global Human Rights Communications (GHRC), which had filed the petition, stated that since the victim’s parents had passed away and his brother was unable to meet the medical expenses, Babuni was left to fend for himself in a shackled condition.

The NHRC had asked the Puri district administration to undertake measures for care and treatment of the victim following which the latter arranged a psychiatric’s visit to the village. The victim was taken to SCB Medical College and Hospital, Cuttack where he is currently undergoing treatment. The district administration has assured that it will bear expenses of his treatment till he is cured.

The Health and Family Welfare Department submitted before the panel that it will chalk out a comprehensive policy for the mentally ill while taking care of the rehabilitation of Babuni, Subash Mohapatra of GHRC said.

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Sayabasachi Panda’s Arrest in Odisha : A Different Perspective

By Sudhir Pattnaik,

Sayabasachi Panda-whether you agree with his politics or not was a fearless fighter- who was with the masses for a long time with total commitment. Had he worked over ground he would have proved to be one of the outstanding pro people politicians of the state. Today’s global political situation which has globalized the coercive/violent power of the state will never allow any attempt to overthrow or even challenge a system which could be treated as violent.

Most of the left radical outfits refuse to recognize this nature of the state which has become increasingly violent. What one needs today is a proper and ‘non-violent’ strategy even in the face of substantial state violence or violence by dominant forces. Violence in today’s situation will breed more violence and all at the cost of the common men.
I have never seen this fighter even during his student days. I have heard a lot about him and therefore have got admiration for him though I don’t accept his politics and strongly feel that he would have been more effective had he chosen politics over ground. I must thank CM Nabin Pattnaik for not deciding to eliminate him. Had Modi been in his position we all would have heard the news that, “Sabyasachi Panda was killed in an encounter when he fired at a police squad”.

I would request the CM to treat him with dignity as the Courts will take care of the trial process.Sabyasachi, as he gradually became desolate, physically weak and diseased, perhaps he realized what he needed to pursue a particular path which he could not afford now. This was the time for criminals in uniform to catch him and present him before the media hungry public that a big fish has been caught. I am told a fight is going on among Odish’s police officers while settling claims for the credit. Now they may even try to book him for the 9/11 attack on World Trade Center or for 26/11 attack in Mumbai’s Taj Hotel.

The writer is a senior journalist and activist based in Bhubaneswar. This note is taken from his Facebook wall. 


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Dalit woman gangraped in Odisha #Vaw #WTFnews

PTI | Kendrapara | Published: Jul 14 2014, 22:18 IST
SUMMARYA married Dalit woman was kidnapped and gangraped allegedly by three persons in Odisha’s Kendrapara district, police said today.

A 28-year-old married Dalit woman was kidnapped and gangraped allegedly by three persons in Odisha’s Kendrapara district, police said today.

The woman was allegedly abducted from near her in-laws’ house in Badagaon village under Marshaghai Police Station area last week, SDPO Nrusingha Charan Swain said.

The victim today lodged a complaint with the police in this regard, alleging that she was sexually assaulted by the accused at different places, he said.

They freed her after threatening her of dire consequences if she revealed the matter to anyone, the SDPO said.

A case under section 376 (rape) of IPC has been registered against the accused who are still at large and a manhunt has been launched to nab them, the SDPO said.

The victim has been medically examined and her statement was also recorded, he said.

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Sexual abuse case: Odisha govt unwilling to comply with NHRC order #WTFnews

Reported by Chinmaya Dehury
Bhubaneswar, July 10:

The Odisha government is trying desperately to get a stay order from the Odisha High Court on the direction of National Human Rights Commission (NHRC) asking it to disburse Rs 3 lakh relief to each of four tribal girl students, who were allegedly sexually abused by a teacher and a peon at Gadiseshkhal sevashram in Rayagada district in 2011.NHRC_LOGO-2

The state government has, so far, failed to comply with the NHRC recommendation for payment of the compensation amount.

The SC and ST Development department has asked the Advocate General to list the case in the court for hearing so that it can file a status report to the Commission, which had sought it from the department within six weeks on 4 June this year.

The deadline ends on July 16.

Acting on a complaint filed by human rights activist Subash Mohapatra, the Commission had directed the state chief secretary to make payment to each of the victims on 31 August 2012.

However, the department instead of disbursing the amount to the four victims had moved the court against the direction of the Commission on the advice of the Law department on 25 May 2013.

Later, the Commission observed that there was no operating stay order on its recommendations for payment of compensation and asked the state government to comply and submit the proof of payment to the victims of sexual abuse.

However, in response, the commission received a report on 13 February from the Director-Cum-Additional Secretary, ST & SC Development Department seeking two months’time for submission of the requisite reply.

Although the time sought for was over, the government did not pay the amount and not filed the requisite report to the Commission. Now, the commission has directed the department to file the requisite report before July 16.

It is to be noted here that four girls, two each of Class III and IV, of Gadiseshkhal sevashram in Kolnara block had lodged a complaint with district collector accusing an assistant teacher, Narendra Meneka, and a male peon, Lingaraj Kulusika, of sexually harassing them, in 2011.

The sevashram is run by the SC and ST Development Department.

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CAG raps Odisha for giving forest lands for industry

IANS  |  Bhubaneswar   June 24, 2014 Last Updated at 13:34 IST

The Comptroller and Auditor General (CAG) has rapped Odisha for allotting forest land for industrial usage, violating the forest laws.

The state has allotted about 267 acres of forest land valued Rs.2,601 crore to industries in the state without obtaining requisite clearance from the ministry of forest and environment, said a latest CAG report tabled in the state assembly.

“As per Section 2 of the Forest Conservation Act, 1980, no state government or other authority shall make, except with prior approval of the Central government, any order directing that any forest land or any portion thereof may be used for any non-forest purpose,” it said.

The report tabled Monday found that in Chandaka and Mahisapat industrial estates, the forest land was allotted to 139 industrial units as of March 2012 without obtaining requisite clearances.

“In its bid to rush for industrialization, the state has committed blatant violation of forest laws which has imperiled the future of wild life in the state. Strong actions should be taken against the officers who permitted this,” Biswajit Mohanty, former member of National Board for Wildlife, told IANS.

The CAG report said the state-owned Odisha Industrial Infrastructure Development Corporation (IDCO) replied in August 2013 that it has submitted forest diversion proposal for forest land in Chandaka industrial estate to the state’s principal chief conservator of forest.

“Thus, forest land was irregularly allotted to industries without the approval of government of India,” said the report a copy of which is in possession of IANS.

In respect to the forest land in Mahisapat, the local authorities stated in August 2012 that the local revenue divisional commissioner has been requested to change the record of rights from forest to industry.

“However, the fact remained that the forest land was used for non-forest purposes without de-notification by the union government,” the CAG stated in its report.

Located on the outskirts of state capital Bhubaneswar, Chandaka is a wildlife sanctuary and known as a pachyderm country.

Spread over an area of 193.39 sq km, it is also a home to a number of threatened wild animals and birds.

Mahisapat, located near the district headquarters town of Dhenkanal, about 80 km from Bhubaneswar, is also a prime elephant habitat.


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