From Jagabandhu Majhi to Naba Das, here’s the list of political leaders shot at in Odisha

Bhubaneswar: Entire Odisha is numbed after untimely death of Odisha Health & Family Welfare Minister Naba Kishore Das, who was gunned down by a police personnel in Brajarajnagar on Sunday. This incident reminds of several deadly gun attacks on political leaders in this peace-loving state.

Though, there are less number of instances of violence, especially in political sphere, in Odisha, at least five elected representatives had been shot at during the period since 2000. These sensational events had sent shockwaves in the state.

Jagabandhu Majhi

Biju Janata Dal MLA Jagabandhu Majhi from Umerkote Assembly Constituency was the first politician in Odisha who succumbed to bullet injuries following a deadly gun attack in 2011. On September 24, 2011, two assailants fired at the then legislator and his PSO while he was handing over land documents to poor tribals in Raighar Block in Nabarngpur district killing the duo on the spot. After 19 days of the incident, the Maoists claimed the responsibility of the murder of Jagabandhu Majhi.

The banned outfit claimed through a local newspaper that the Mainpuri division of the CPI (Maoist) was responsible for the killing of the wheel chair bound MLA alleging that the politician had tarnished the image of Maoists by collecting money in their names and got 12 people killed and put the blame on Maoists. Later, prime accused in the sensational murder Jani Salem of the Chhattisgarh Mainpur division surrendered before the police in Andhra Pradesh in 2014.

Naba Das

More than a decade after fatal bullet firing on Jagabandhu Majhi, Health Minister Naba Das became the second victim, who was shot at during a public meeting. The BJD leader was shot at by a police ASI, who was his PSO in recent past, while he was heading towards a public meeting after alighting from his car at around 12 noon at Gandhi Chhak in Brajarajnagar in Jharsuguda district on January 29, 2023. According to reports, the ASI identified as Gopal Krushna Das fired at Naba Das from a distance of 4 metre. Immediately, he was airlifted to Bhubaneswar and admitted to the Apollo Hospital. Despite best efforts, the doctors failed to save the leader. The doctors who attended to the minister said a single bullet had entered and exited the body, injuring the heart and left lung and causing massive internal bleeding and injury.

Maheswar Mohanty

BJD leader Maheswar Mohanty was shot at when he was the Law, Culture and Tourism Minister during the period in 2014. Two bullets were shot at him, one in his shoulder and another in arm – when he was riding his scooter at about 9.30 pm on February 21 after attending a meeting in Puri. The assailant fled the minister fell down from his scooter. He was rushed to the district headquarters hospital and then shifted the Kalinga Hospital in Bhubaneswar. He survived the attack following a successful surgery by a team of doctors.

Police arrested mastermind Sradhamani Mohapatra and two shooters in this connection. The probe revealed the assailants opened fire at Mohanty to avenge murder of Taluchha Bhagaban Mahapatra alias Guna Singhari, who was a senior servitor of the Jagannath Temple in Puri.

The 70-year-old Sradhamani, the mother of Guna Singhari, had allegedly hired five contract killers, all former associates of her son, to take revenge for her son’s killing. She alleged that Maheswar Mohanty’s men were involved in Guna Singhari murder case.

Sudam Marndi

Firing at the then JMM MP from Mayurbhanj Lok Sabha Constituency Sudam Marndi had created a stir in Odisha politics in 2009. Bullets were targeted Maoists at him during his official visit to a football tournament at Bandap village under Chandua police station on October 13 in Mayurbhanj district. The JMM leader escaped by hiding in bush, but the Maoists gunned down three police personnel including the security guard of Marndi after the football match.

Dhanurjay Sidhu

The then Keonjhar Congress MLA Dhanurjay Sidhu was shot at by unidentified assailants near the mining town of Barbil on February 26 in 2007. The gun attack occurred when he was travelling in his vehicle and some motorcycle-borne assailants sprayed bullets at the car near Bhadrasahi Chhak, about 6 km from Barbil town. He was rushed to the government hospital at Barbil and later shifted to Tisco hospital at Joda where he was operated upon by three surgeons summoned from Keonjhar and Champua. He survived the attack as the doctors removed successfully removed 3 bullets from his lower abdomen and thigh in an operation.

Ramesh Chandra Jena

Congress leader Ramesh Chandra Jena escaped unhurt when unidentified assailants opened fire at him on May 29, 2009. The newly-elected MLA from Sanakhemundi was shot at while he was returning home after attending a felicitation function was organised by the district Bus Owners’ Association in Ganjam district. According to reports, two assailants opened fire at his vehicle. The then legislator alleged that the attack was a handiwork of his political opponents.

The leader attacked again in August 2010. He had a narrow escape when some unidentified persons hurled bombs at his vehicle in Patapur town, about 45 km from Berhampur city, in Ganjam district. Four youths were nabbed in 2012 by Berhampur police for their alleged involvement in attack on Ramesh Jena at Patapur. Four revolvers and live bullets were seized from their possession.

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