Mrunal Manmay Dash

The three-member BJP Central team which is on a two-day visit to Odisha to carry out a ground assessment of facts in the Mamita Meher murder case has demanded the resignation of Minister of State (Home), Dibya Shankar Mishra on moral grounds.

The BJP team which comprised the party’s Mahila Morcha National President Vanathi Srinivasan, Lok Sabha member from Haryana Sunita Duggal and West Bengal MLA Sreerupa Mitra Chaudhury spoke to the parents of the victim and offered their condolences, before meeting the SP of Bolangir on Friday.

Addressing the media on Saturday, Srinivasan said, “We were directed by (BJP) National President JP Nadda to visit the place of crime and report him about the case.”

“We have interacted with locals, public representatives and Police officials and found out it was a brutal murder. We received information from the ground that Gobinda Sahu, the key accused in the murder case, had visited CM Naveen Patnaik’s residence many a times with Minister Mishra,” she said.

Linking the case with Mishra, Shrinivasan said, “The Assembly constituency is represented by Minister Mishra. The accused, Gobinda Sahu, is known to be a close aide of the Minister. The Minister had visited the school many times. Funds from the MLA LAD have been provided to the school too. The investigating officers work under the Home department. The constituency where the crime took place is represented by the MoS (Home). Sahu has been looked upon as the representative of the Home Minister. Even the prosecution of the accused will be conducted under the Home Ministry. Not just political parties but locals too are of the opinion that there is a big hand behind this case.”

The State BJP has been demonstrating against this injustice since the last 10 days. “And we feel the MoS should step down from his position on grounds of propriety and moral responsibility in view of the suspicion and mistrust generated around his conduct,” she said.

“After a long wait, he (Mishra) opened up last night, swore by the name of Goddess Manikeswari and pleaded not guilty. Similarly, we too urge him by the name of Lord Jagannath to step down from his position on moral grounds,” added Srinivasan.

However, BJD refuted the allegations while accusing the Opposition of politicising the issue. Party leader Pratap Deb said, “CM Naveen always takes immediate action against which allegations are levelled. He had taken such steps in the past & will also take such action in the future.”

Meanwhile, the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) on Saturday intensified its stir against the Odisha government demanding the resignation of Minister Mishra for his alleged links with the main accused in the Mamita Meher murder case.

The Opposition party today observed 12-hour bandh, from 6 am to 6 pm, in several districts including Boudh, Kendrapara, Balasore and Jagatsinghpur over the issue. The party members also called for a 6-hour bandh in Bhadrak district.