Custodial death issue rocks Odisha Assembly for second consecutive day

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Bhubaneswar, Nov 21 (PTI) The alleged custodial deaths in Puri and Biramitrapur continued to rock the Odisha Assembly for the second consecutive day on Saturday with opposition BJP and Congress demanding stringent action against the erring police personnel including senior officers, The issue was raised by Leader of Opposition P K Naik of BJP as soon as the House assembled for the day. He rejected the state government's action of transferring Puri SP Akileshwar Singh and demanded his suspension.

'K Ramesh was picked up by police at the instruction of SP. Ramesh was hacked to death at the police station.

However, the SP says that Ramesh died following a scuffle with police. His transfer is just eyewash to divert public attention. A detailed discussion should be conducted through a motion in the House,' Naik said, adding that his party completely rejected the state government's action against the Puri SP.

The BJP leader also alleged that Ramesh's cremation was not done according to the Hindu tradition. Those who remained present at the cremation were taken to Brahmagiri police station and kept there for two days, he said.

The Leader of Opposition said that the state government cannot protect IAS and IPS officers by punishing low ranking officials.

He alleged that law and order situation has completely collapsed in the state as six members of a family were killed in Bolangir district. He also raised the issue of a Sarpanch seeking sexual favour from a woman in order to allocate a house under Awas Yojana meant for poor people in Kalahandi.

'We demand suspension and booking of Puri SP in the murder case,' Naik said demanding a ruling from the Speaker.

Congress Legislature Party leader Narasingha Mishra also came down heavily on the state government and dubbed prevalence of 'Jungle Raj' in Odisha. 'We have never seen police conducting cremation of a victim of custodial death secretly. This kind of incident has happened in Uttar Pradesh and now being repeated in Odisha,' Mishra said, 'Transfer of SP is not a punishment. Exemplary action should be taken against him so that other police personnel will get a lesson and respect human rights of people in custody,' the CLP leader said.

Senior Congress member Taraprasad Bahinipati demanded suspension of former Malkangiri district collector Manish Agarwal who has been booked in a murder case. Similarly, ex- Puri SP Singh should also been booked under section 302 of IPC and arrested, he said.

Senior BJD lawmaker Amar Prasad Satpathy expressed concern over the custodial death in Puri and Biramitrapur in Sundergarh district. 'However, he said the issue cannot be discussed in the House through a motion as the matter is sub- judice,' Satpathy said.

The custodial deaths related to 32-year old K Ramesh who was allegedly hacked to death by the personnel of Baseli Sahi police station in Puri town after he was picked up on Wednesday.

Similarly, another youth Tarique Salim also died at Biramitrapur police station in Sundergarh district under mysterious circumstances on Thursday.

Meanwhile, apart from shifting Puri SP Akhileswar Singh, the state government has placed under suspension four police personnel in connection with the alleged custodial deaths of two accused in Puri and Sundargarh districts of Odisha.

Birmitrapur Police Station IIC Smruti Prava Pradhan, Baselisahi police station's Sub Inspector Biplab Kumar Pradhan, constables Jagannath Swain and Babuli Behera have been placed under suspension for gross misconduct and negligence in duty, official sources said. PTI AAM RG RG