RTI activist critically injured in bomb attack in Odisha

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(Eds: Adds details) Jajpur (Odisha), Mar 28 (PTI) A Right to Information (RTI) activist, who is also a local BJP leader, suffered serious injuries after miscreants hurled bombs at him in Odisha's Jajpur district, police said on Sunday.

Sarbeswar Behuria was admitted to Dharmasala CHC for treatment after the attack on Saturday night near Imam Nagar, but later shifted to SCB College and Hospital in Cuttack as his condition deteriorated, they said.

Behuria was returning home along with an associate in a car when two men intercepted the vehicle, lobbed bombs and fled.

'As Behuria was driving the car, he suffered critical injuries. His assistant has also been admitted to hospital,' Saroj Kumar Sahu, inspector-in-charge of Dharmasala police station, said.

Police have started an investigation into the incident. Behuria's wife Rilu has lodged a police complaint suspecting the hand of Dharmasala's BJD MLA Pranab Balabantaray behind the bomb attack.

Meanwhile, opposition BJP claimed that Behuria was its party member and also pointed the accusing finger at Balabantaray.

BJP state vice-president Bhrugu Baxipatra said that the saffron party will launch a stir if the legislator is not arrested even after his name was mentioned in the FIR lodged by Behuria's wife.

'This is the BJD's 18th attempt to eliminate BJP activists in Odisha. This is not the first attempt on Behuria's life. He had survived another attack 2-3 years ago.

'The BJD wanted to eliminate him because he helped unearth the ruling party's corruption in Jajpur district, including illegal mining in Dankari Hill and he had led a BJP protest there,' he said.

Even as Balabantaray did not comment on the incident, BJD spokesperson Lenin Mohanty said, 'It is BJP's habit to politicise all criminal cases. We are optimistic that the real culprits will soon be arrested.' State BJP chief Samir Mohanty and Congress MLA Mohammad Moquim met Behuria at the hospital and enquired on his health condition.

OPCC chief Niranjan Patnaik condemned the rise in political violence in the state and blamed the BJD government for creating a new trend in Odisha politics. PTI COR AAM RBT ACD ACD