Dharmendra targets Odisha govt over ‘deteriorating law and order situation’; BJD reacts

Bhubaneswar: Following the murder of former Health Minister Naba Kishore Das on January 29 in a gun attack by a former ASI of Police, Union Education Minister Dharmendra Pradhan today lashed out at the Odisha government for ‘deterioration of law and order situation’ in the State.

However, BJD has reacted to Pradhan’s remarks in a presser held by party’s national spokesperson later in the day.

The Union Minister said, “The people’s mandate must be honoured in a democratic rule. Governance is a responsibility and not a feudal right.” Pradhan questioned the prevalent system of administration in the context of recent attack on a Sub-Collector by sand mafias.

Pradhan cited Mahanga double murder, Anand Toppo death and the way Odisha Police is being used to manage investigations, despite alleged involvement of BJD MLAs in many such criminal cases.

State police is not being given a freehand to operate and to discharge its duties. Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik, who is in charge of state Home Department, remaining silent over the murder of a Cabinet Minister like Naba Das by a policeman has astounded the people of Odisha, Pradhan added.

Quoting a previous statement of Odisha Director General of Police (DGP) Sunil Kumar Bansal on the progress of investigation into the murder of the health minister, Pradhan stated that such an expression is in fact ridiculous.

“Certain incidents take place in our lives that are unimaginable. Except Lord Jagannath, no human being would ever have anticipated that such an incident (Das’ murder) would occur,” Bansal had earlier said adding that the police will take adequate steps to avert repetition of such incidents in future.

On the other hand, BJD refuted the allegations levelled by the Union Minister. Odisha will continue to reject the State BJP unit’s old strategy of politicising criminal cases, the ruling party expressed.

Addressing a press meet today at New Delhi, BJD MP and national spokesperson Sasmit Patra said that the Union Minister talking about law and order today in a press interaction is hilarious.

In BJP ruled states there have been very sensational cases whether it is liquor tragedy or bridge collapse leading to deaths of many people and also crimes against women. People demanded judicial enquiry but in most cases it was never done. “Your (Pradhan’s) lone intention is to politicise every criminal case and create political narrative. State is transparent and has given this case to be monitored by a retired High Court Judge nominated by the Orissa High Court. What’s there to hide for us?” Patra questioned.

“You took High Court’s name several times this morning in your statement but you doubt the monitoring by a retired judge? Why? Only to score political points? All the cases mentioned by you this morning are in respective courts. You should have faith at least in the judiciary and should allow courts to deliver justice as per them and not instill doubts and questions on them,” Patra further said.

“Isn’t a senior BJP leader who has 14 criminal cases including murder case has been appointed as Leader of Opposition in Odisha Assembly by you? Wasn’t he in jail and is now out on bail on Dileshwar Sahu murder case which took place during Bijepur by-poll? You place such people as your Leader of Opposition but you have the moral fibre to question the Odisha Government? You should be teaching us morality? Wasn’t your present President of Bharatiya Janata Party Yuva Morcha in jail and now out on bail in Bhatli murder incident?” the BJD spokesperson Patra fumed in his press conference.

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