Nizamuddin returnee, associates attack govt officials in Odisha

Bhubaneswar: A Nizamuddin returnee along with two of his associates led a group of villagers in attacking two state government officials and held them captive in Odisha’s Jajpur district on Saturday, a senior official said.

The three were later detained and sent for quarantine. The incident took place at Gopinathpur village under Kuakhia police station when district collector Ranjan Kumar Das and other officers were overseeing implementation of the lockdown guidelines and mandatory wearing of masks by people.

“When the BDO and the tehsildar were checking people on the streets, three unmasked men in a motorbike did not stop and fled to Gopinathpur village,” the collector said. When the two officers chased them to the village, the trio allegedly led a mob to attack the officers and held them captive, police said.

Later, policemen reached the place and rescued the officers, Das said. It was ascertained during interrogation that one of them had attended the Tablighi Jamaat congregation held in Delhi’s Nizamuddin in March, he said.

The three thought that the officers were trying to stop them due to their Nizamuddin link, the collector said. The Nizamuddin returnee along with his two associates was detained and kept in quarantine. His contact tracing will be done after the test of his swab sample, police said.

Many of those who had attended the Tablighi Jamaat event last month in the national capital were later tested positive for COVID-19 and several of them died. Of the state’s 61 coronavirus cases, at least six positive cases had links to the Nizamuddin event. Forty-two people of the state who had attended the Nizamuddin event voluntarily came forward for coronavirus test following an appeal by Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik, but the person detained on Saturday was not one of them, an official said.

Jajpur SP Charan Singh Meena conducted a flag march in the village as tension prevailed there after the incident. Earlier, one Nizamuddin returnee from Jajpur district had tested positive for coronavirus infection. He, however, has recovered.

Meanwhile, police arrested 67 people on charges of violating the lockdown guidelines and other norms in the last 24 hours in the state.

(PTI)

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