Amidst uproar against the police firing on tribals at Kalinga Nagar, in which 12 persons were killed, a new controversy erupted on Thursday when the palms of six of the bodies were found severed.
The bodies, which had been taken to Jajpur town on the day of the incident for post-mortem and handed over to their relatives yesterday for cremation, were found without the palms.
Superintendent of Police Binoytosh Mishra said severing the palm was legal and is used to establish the identity of the person.
"It is because the finger prints of all ten fingers need to be preserved," he said.
However, leaders of political parties across the spectrum condemned the action.
JMM President Shibu Soren strongly objected to the severing of palms saying he will draw the attention of the National Human Rights Commission to the matter.
Congress leader and a former inspector-general of police B K Tripathy said that in the present context there was no need to preserve the palms as their photographs could have been taken or the kin could have identified the bodies.
BJP leader Anadi Sahu, also a former IGP, said such action will only further antagonise the people.