Survivors of an armed attack by political rivals in a poll-related violence, who were hospitalised here on Tuesday, accused Odisha Minister for School and Mass Education Rabi Narayan Nanda of deploying goons to kill them.
Immediately after elections were held for the Jeypore Assembly segment in Koraput district on April 10, an armed gang of eight stormed into a hotel late in the night where Congress candidate Taraprasad Bahinipati’s relatives were staying and attacked them. They also tried to shoot them with guns outside the hotel after abusing and beating them, the survivors said.
The injured – Mr. Bahinipati’s brother Tuna alias Manoj Kumar, who was stabbed in the abdomen, and nephew Gupta Prasad Mohapatra, who received injuries on the thigh, are undergoing treatment at a corporate hospital here.
Talking to The Hindu, Mr. Bahinipati, who was Congress nominee against Mr. Nanda, alleged that the attack was engineered by the Minister. He alleged that son of Mr. Nanda had participated in the attack and the Minister, fearing defeat, had tried to take revenge against his family. Mr. Bahinipati, who contested on BJP ticket in 2009, was defeated by Mr. Nanda by a narrow margin.
The Minister as well as Koraput district BJD leaders refuted their involvement in the attack in protest against which a bandh was observed by the Congress activists.
Mr. Tuna alleged that BJD Youth wing district president Dharmendra Adhikari and seven others had opened fire on them and tried to stab them to death. He claimed that they had the CCTV footage of the hotel to identify and nab the assailants. “I returned from Borigumma and when I questioned why the gang was attacking the son of Mr. Bahinipati, they all abused and attacked me and those accompanying me. It is shocking that none of the accused has been arrested so far,” he said.+
Former Odisha Chief Minister Giridhar Gamang, who condemned the incident, is scheduled to come here on Wednesday to visit the injured.