Pradeep Pattanayak

Political leaders, cutting across the party lines, condemned the horrific attack on journalists in Binjharpur of Jajpur district while covering the third-phase voting for the ongoing Panchayat elections on Sunday.

Meanwhile, the police claimed to have arrested the prime accused involved in the attack and detained his associates.   

“A number of suspects have been detained and they are being questioned. The main accused has been arrested and his assiciates have been detained,” informed Jajpur SP Rahul PR.  

Union Minister Dharmendra Pradhan took to Twitter to condemn the attack on the scribes who were covering the election. 

In a series of tweets on his Odia handle, Pradhan said, “Like during the first phase Panchayat polls, today also incidents of violence and attack on journalists were reported from several places. Specifically, the scenes of journalists being assaulted at Binjharpur in Jajpur district hurt me deeply.”

In another tweet, Pradhan said, “Journalism is the fourth pillar of democracy. Frequent attacks on journalists do not augur well for our State. It is a matter of regret. There are differences in politics but there is no room for violence.”

Pradhan urged the State Election Commission to take the incidents of attacks on journalists seriously and take action. 

Similarly, BJD State general secretary Pranab Prakash Das also condemned the assault on journalists at Binjharpur in Jajpur district in tweet in Odia. “I strongly condemne the attack on journalist at Binjharpur. There is no room for violence in democracy. Police will take stringent action against the persons involved as per law,” read the tweet. 

Media advisor to the Government of Odisha Manas Mangaraj took to his Twitter handle to condemn the attack on journalists. In his tweet in Odia, he said the culprits must be brought to book.

Slamming the government, the Bharatiya Janata Party’s State general secretary Golak Mohapatra termed the attack on journalists as 'government-sponsored violence'. “The booth capturing incidents are orchestrated by the government. And when the journalists go to cover the incidents, they are attacked,” said Mohapatra. 

Congress Spokesperson Nishikanta Mishra and BJD MP Subash Singh also strongly condemned the attack on journalists during the ongoing Panchayat elections. “In the past, journalists were attacked too. At that time, the government had not been as serious on the miscreants as it ought to have been. This leniency is encouraging them,” said Mishra. 

“The journalists should not face hostility. The law will take its own course and there is no question of any compromise,” said Singh.