Autorickshaw driver carrying voters to polling booth killed in Odisha’s Bargarh

Bargarh: Tension gripped Sarsara village under Bargarh Sadar police limits during polling after an autorickshaw driver carrying voters to a polling booth was reportedly killed by a group of people today.

The deceased person has been identified as Biswanath Mirdha of Sarsara village.

According to reports, one person namely Manoj Mahananda stabbed Biswanath to death following a heated argument while he was carrying voters in his autorickshaw to the polling station at Sarsara village in Bargarh Parliamentary Constituency, where the polling began in the morning in the second phase of Odisha Elections 2024.

The voting in the village was disrupted temporarily due to the incident. While the locals blamed a particular political party for the murder of the autorickshaw driver, the police refuted the claim.

“The murder is not related to any political violence. Both were drunk. They had an altercation which led to aggravated assault. As per the preliminary investigation, they had past enmity. We will nab the accused soon,” said Bargarh SP Prahalad Sahai Meena.

This issue is not related to polling violence, clarified the Chief Electoral Officer Nikunja Bihari Dhal.

“According to eyewitnesses, both Biswanath Mirdha and the accused person were under influence of liquor. They fought on some issue that turned violent. Mirdha was shifted to Bargarh CHC where he succumbed to injuries. However, the accused escaped from the scene. Police constituted a special team to nab the accused. The CAPF (Central Armed Police Forces) have rushed to the spot. IGP (northern range) Himanshu Lal and Bargarh SP Meena are present. The polling is now normal in the booth,” Dhal told media while briefing on voter turnout in Odisha.

The Bargarh Collector, who is the District Election Officer, also clarified over the incident.

“One person was stabbed to death by a kukri knife. The incident took place just 300-400 metre away from Sarsara Booth No.128, 129 under Bargarh Assembly Constituency. The preliminary probe suggested that both the accused and victim had past enmity. Following the incident, the accused escaped. However, the murder was not related to polling violence,” said Bargarh Collector Aditya Goyal.

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