27 acquitted in Biraja idol replacement violence

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Jajpur: A local has acquitted all 27 people who had been arrested for alleged violence and torching of police vehicles here 12 years ago.

Chief Judicial Magistrate (CJM) Bikram Kumar Pradhan, while pronouncing the verdict yesterday, acquitted all the accused due to lack of evidence.

Though 29 persons had been named in the case, two of them have died.

Arson and violence had erupted in Jajpur on the night of October 24, 2004 when a mob set two police vehicles on fire and assaulted police personnel who tried to prevent them from attacking the house of one Dillip Mohapatra at Markandpur village.

The accused persons had targeted Dillip while searching for a ‘tantrik’ Maheswar Pradhan who they thought was involved in an attempt to replace the idol from the temple of goddess Biraja here.

Police had arrested 29 people, most of them youths, and referred them to the court on charges of indulging in violence, attacking the ‘tantric’ and the house owner and burning of police vehicles.

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