Mrunal Manmay Dash

Several posters and banners threatening to kill Congress leader and Kantabanji MLA Santosh Singh Saluja within 15 days surfaced in Bolangir district on Monday morning.

While the banners have a picture of a man, his identity is yet to be ascertained. The unknown person has written, “I will kill Santosh Singh Saluja within 15 days.”

Speaking about the threat, Saluja said, "I came to know about the banners through electronic media. It is strange that at a time when I am roaming the Kantabanji Constituency for its development, somebody has threatened to kill me. Kantabanji's development cannot be held back even after killing me. I do not fear death. If one Saluja dies, many more will be born."

"I would request the police to arrest the accused soon and expose the bid to keep me away from developing the Kantabanji Constituency. It looks like a political threat, issued to demoralise me," he added.

"The business establishments and shop keepers in Kantabanji were scared. They did not want to open their offices and shops. So we have filed a complaint at the police station. We demand a high-level probe in this matter," demanded Saluja's brother Bariyam Singh Saluja.  

Kantabanji police have seized all the banners and launched a probe to nab the accused.

"We went to the spot and seized the posters immidiately after getting the news. We have already launched a probe in this connection. We are talking with Saluja's family. The perpetrator will not be spared. He will be dealt as per the law," said Kantabanji SDPO Gouranga Charan Sahu.

It is pertinent to mention here that Saluja was earlier attacked with a sharp weapon on the outskirts of Kantabanji in 2015.

The incident had occurred when the legislator and his cousin Amarjit and supporters were on a visit to a property, which they had purchased at village Chatuanka. Though a dispute over the property was suspected to be the reason behind the attack, it was not officially confirmed.

However, Saluja had accused the ruling party behind the attack. He alleged that the local BJD MLA from Kantabanji, Ayub Khan, was behind the attack.

Notably, the areas near Kantabanji including Bangomunda, Khaprakhol and Turekela are infested with Maoists. So a Maoist threat cannot be ruled out in this case too.

However, the police were unavailable to make any comments in this connection.

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