Odisha panchayat polls: Pre-poll violence comes to fore

Odisha Sun Times Bureau
Bhubaneswar, Jan 28:

With only weeks left for Odisha panchayat polls to begin, the campaign has reached fever pitch across the state and has brought along reports of violence and high-handedness at places.

A day after the murder of Sushant Nayak in Bankuala village in Bhubaneswar suburbs, locals today blocked the roads near Bankuala bridge alleging political vendetta behind the incident. Some of them demanded a free and fair probe, immediate arrest of the culprits and compensation for the family.

“He had been campaigning for the candidate contesting with a kettle symbol. That’s why he was murdered,” said Sushant’s relative Mahesh Swain.

Bhubaneswar DCP Satyabrata Bhoi, however, said that the exact motive can only be identified following a thorough investigation.

“From the primary investigation, all I can confirm is: he had a fallout with couple of men near a betel shop. He had been injured over that fight. The political angle can only be confirmed after a thorough investigation,” said Bhoi.

In a related incident, six families of Gada Madhupur village under Balanga police limits in Puri district have been ostracised from the village after they refused to pledge to vote for a particular sarpanch candidate.

“They have barred us from availing community services including access to water and fire. Besides, the shopkeepers don’t sell us essentials,” said Purnachandra Dalei, a member of one the victim families.

“What they are talking goes back to a bygone era when water was at one place and fire was at another. Who ostracised who when everyone can avail the services at their own place,” shot back Subash Jena, the accused sarpanch candidate.

Meanwhile, acting on the orders of Puri collector, local BDO has started an investigation into the incident after the families reported the incident with Balanga police.

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