In a major incident, Odisha Health Minister Naba Das sustained injuries after being shot at by some unidentified miscreant near Gandhi chhak at Brajarajnagar in Jharsuguda district on Sunday. The incident occurred when Naba Das was on his way to attend a programme.
Sources said that unidentified miscreants opened fire at Naba Das after he stepped out of his vehicle. The exact reason behind the firing is still unclear.
Following the incident, Naba Das was rushed to hospital. Tension prevailed at the spot after BJD activists staged a dharna following the firing incident.
It is suspected that the firing was ‘pre-planned’ as the minister was allegedly shot at from a close range.
The incident has raised serious questions on the security measures as a police escort was also provided to Naba Das who was scheduled to attend a mega programme.
As per initial reports, four to five rounds of gunshots were heard on the spot. Sources said, another person, who was standing near the minister, has also sustained injury along with a police official. However, more clarity on this is awaited.
Brajarajnagar SDPO Gupteswar Bhoi said that one Assistant Sub-Inspector is involved in the firing on the health minister Naba Das.
UPDATE | Police ASI involved in firing on Odisha health minister Naba Das: SDPO
As Naba Das is a key BJD leader, and firing at him ahead of the 2024 elections is certainly a matter of grave concern as Odisha has a history of witnessing violence during the polls, said senior journalist Prasanna Mohanty.
“We are completely shocked after getting the news over phone. Who is involved and why it happened is too early to say. We pray for his speedy recovery. We condemn the incident, and police will carry out a detailed investigation,” said senior BJD leader Prasanna Acharya.
Meanwhile, the minister has been airlifted from Jharsuguda district headquarters hospital to Bhubaneswar.
CM Condemns, Orders Crime Branch Probe
Condemning the attack on health minister Naba Das, Odisha Chief Minister in a statement said, I am shocked at the unfortunate incident of attack on minister Naba Das. I strongly condemn the attack on him. I pray for his early recovery. "
Patnaik further stated that Crime branch has been directed to take up the investigation of the case . Senior officers of crime branch have been asked to go to the spot.
Jharsuguda CDMO said, “The health minister has sustained bullet injury on his chest and he is unable to speak. The condition of the minister is critical.”
Law Minister Jagannath Saraka said, “We condemn the attack on the health minister and stern action will be taken in connection with the incident.”
On reports that an Assistant Sub Inspector rank officer is involved in the firing on the health minister, Saraka said, “The matter will be thoroughly examined, and only after investigation, things will be cleared.”
"The ASI came from the front and fired from a range of five to six feet. The ASI had fired three to four rounds; and we blocked him after he fired the first shot. A bullet has also hit the minister’s vehicle," said an eye-witness.
How Firing Took Place
Another eye-witness said, "I was standing at close to the Minister Naba Das when the ASI fired at him. Naba Das fell and I went to pick him up. The assailant tried to fire again at Naba Das but was blocked by the public."
“When Minister Naba Das was trying to get down from the car, the ASI fired at him. We initially thought it was some cracker sound, but later realised that he has been shot at,” said an BJD worker.
A dedicated corridor has been created to shift health minister Naba Das from Bhubaneswar airport to a private hospital. A team of doctors is also put on an alert mode at the Bhubaneswar airport.
The senior Biju Janata Dal (BJD) leader Naba Das was recently in news after he reportedly donated a gold kalas worth over Rs 1 crore to a temple in Maharashtra. Das had reportedly donated the kalas made of Rs 1.7 kg of gold and 5 kg of silver to the Shani Shingnapur temple in Maharashtra which is one of the famous Shani shrines in the country.
(Reported by Bhagirathi Sahoo)