Double murder: BJP plans series of stir, demands minister's

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arrest, dismissal (Updating with BJD's statement on pol violence in Odisha) Bhubaneswar, Jan 4 (PTI) The opposition BJP on Monday announced a state-wide agitation demanding resignation of Law Minister Pratap Jena over his alleged involvement in the killing of a BJP leader and his associate.

The ruling BJD accused the saffron party of indulging in politics over the incident and asserted that the Odisha government has 'zero tolerance' towards political violence.

A day after the twin killings of BJP leader Kulamani Baral and his associate Dibyasingha Baral at Mahanga in Cuttack, BJP announced a series of agitations after Law Minister Pratap Jenas name figured in the list of accused persons.

The saffron party activities during the day staged agitation and burnt effigies of the law minister.

While serving a 48-hour ultimatum to the Odisha government for arrest of culprits involved in the twin murder case, BJP state general secretary Prithivraj Harichandan said the party activists will stage demonstration in front of all the police stations on Tuesday.

This would be followed by ghero of SP offices across the state on Wednesday and a demonstration near DGP office on January 8, he said.

BJPs Salipur in-charge and ex-Mahanga block chairman Kulamani Baral and his associate Divyasingha Baral were hacked to death on Saturday night.

Jena and 12 others have been booked under various sections of the IPC, including 302 (murder), based on a complaint lodged by the deceased BJP leader's son Ramakanta.

The law minister, however, alleged that the saffron party was 'politicising the case and dragging his name into the matter for no reason'.

Four days prior to the incident, Ramakanta said his father had told him that Jena, who is also the local MLA, had threatened to kill the two.

'The minister is completely responsible for the murder of my father. The miscreants killed my father on the local MLA's direction as he had raised his voice against Jena's corrupt methods,' the complainant alleged.

Taking to Twitter, BJP national spokesman Sambit Patra drew parallels between the political situation in Odisha and neighbouring Bengal.

'Senior BJP leader Kulamani Barala of Mahanga was brutally hacked to death just because he spoke against the corruption of Minister Pratap Jena in Odisha Govt. The Minister's name finds a mention in the FIR as well. Is Odisha going the Bengal way?' Patra tweeted.

Echoing him, Bhubaneswar MP and BJP leader Aparajita Sarangi said, 'The state has witnessed at least 17 political murders involving BJP leaders since the previous panchayat elections in 2012. Odisha is going the Bengal way so far the political violence is concerned.' Congress MLA Suresh Routray sought to know how the law minister, despite being named an accused in the double murder case, was allowed to attend the oath-taking ceremony of Orissa High Court Chief Justice earlier in the day.

Jena, in his defence, claimed that the opposition has the habit of pointing fingers at ruling party leaders for every crime recorded in the state.

'Investigation will reveal the truth. It will be my personal endeavour to ensure that the culprits are arrested and punished,' he added.

Rejecting BJPs allegation of rise in the political violence in the state, ruling BJD spokesperson Chinmay Sahoo told reporters that the Odisha government has 'zero tolerance towards political violence.

'Parties which are in power in other states with more political violence, shouldn't criticise the Odisha government,' he said.

Stating that the NCRB 'Crime in India 2019' report, mentioned that Odisha didn't report a single political murder in 2019, the BJD spokesperson pointed out that neighbouring West Bengal has reported 12 political murders followed by 6 political murders each in Bihar & Jharkhand.

Karnataka and Punjab reported 4 political murders each in 2019, Sahoo said adding that different parties are in power in different states.

In the Mahanga double murder case, Cuttack SP (Rural) B.

Jugal Kishore has already said no one would be spared & all the accused will soon be apprehended, he pointed out.

On the BJPs allegations against the Law Minister Pratap Jena, the BJD spokesperson said,'Let the probe be over to know the exact reasons behind the murders. BJD has never tolerated any kind of political violence and in the Mahanga case also the guilty will not be spared.' PTI AAM SNS SNS