Himansu Shekhar Rout

The Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) accused police of trying to shield some student leaders of the BJD in connection with the alleged gangrape of a Plus-II girl student in Berhampur. 

As per reports, the incident had taken place on May 3 while a case was registered on May 5 on the complaint from the victim. 

The BJP pointed out that police registered a case on the complaint of the gang-rape victim against eight persons who were detained and medically examined. Later five of them were arrested while three others including BJD’s students’ wing leader Bikram Jena were set free. Again, another one identified as Juman Gouda was arrested and produced in court.

The BJP alleged that Bikram Jena has links with some BJD leaders like MLA candidate Bikram Panda and Sanosth Patra. 

However, no reaction from the BJD leader Bikram Jena has been received.

The saffron party questioned why the main accused of the case was allowed to go scot-free. It reasoned out that as the main accused is a BJD leader and his arrest would adversely impact the electoral results of the ruling party, police set him free.

The saffron party raised another serious allegation that the name of another accused was changed. The BJP sought an impartial probe into the matter. 

Babita Patra, general secretary of the BJP Mahila Morcha, Odisha, said, "One Sambit Panigrah was one of the accused. His name was struck off and another name was added. Another BJD’s student leader Bikram Jena was medically examined, but he was set free later.”

The BJP women wing warned of agitation unless an impartial probe is conducted into the matter and all accused are arrested.   

Countering the BJP allegation, BJD state secretary Tumbanath Panda said, ”It is a non-issue. But the BJP is planning to make it an issue. Showing a photo of a leader with another holds no water in the age of deepfake.”

'If the allegation is true, it is a serious issue'

As for the BJP’s allegation of a BJD leader who was set free by police, senior lawyer Nirmal Sahu said, ”When someone is involved in the crime, he is medically examined. If the accused is involved and has been set free, it would be a very serious matter. Hence the role of police comes under scanners.”

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