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Mrunal Manmay Dash

A rather peaceful state of Odisha has suddenly witnessed eruption of violence in many parts, thanks to the cut throat competition among candidates for the forthcoming Panchayat elections.

From Dhenkanal to Keonjhar, from Rourkela to Cuttack and Puri, pre-poll violence has started in every nook and corner of the State, notwithstanding the fact that the law enforcement agencies have been repeatedly assuring people that everything is under control.

The latest example of such violence was reported in Mahulapal Panchayat under Dhankanal’s Bhuban Police station limits where a female Sarpanch candidate’s home was allegedly attacked by stones and her supporters were threatened by supporters of a rival candidate.

As per reports, Sarpanch candidate Mamata Sahu’s supporter Kulamani Pradhan was allegedly picked up by some miscreants on Sunday suspecting him to be doing witchcraft to win the election. However, following Mamata’s complaint at the Police station and the intervention of the police, Pradhan was released by the miscreants who later came back with hundreds of other men and hurled stones at Mamata’s residence on the same night.

Speaking to reporters, Mamata said, “Minutes after I brought back Pradhan to our village, hundreds of people gheraoed my house and hurled stones. They even threatened us woth dire consequences if I move out of the house for campaigning.”

Asked about the violence, the Inspector In-Charge of Bhuban Police station, Prashant Patra, termed the current situation in the area as ‘peaceful’, “Two rival political groups threw stones at each other after a man was freed from the captivity of some miscreants. We pacified them and the situation is peaceful now,” Patra said.

In Keonjhar, three youths were admitted to the District Headquarters Hospital (DHH) after they sustained serious injuries in an alleged attack by their political rivals.

As per reports, the youths were attacked by sharp weapons while they were returning to their homes in Balada village under Joda Block of the district, after campaigning.

Dulabha Majhi, one of the injured youths said, “Supporters of the candidate belonging to another party confronted us on our way home and attacked us. I suffered a broken hand and I have head injury as well. They even damaged our vehicles.”

Keonjhar SP, Mitrabhanu Mohapatra said, “We are taking stern action against the miscreants involved in violence. If needed we will send additional force to sensitive areas to maintain law and order in the district.”

In a similar instance, Pushpita Jena, a Samiti Member candidate from Govindpur Panchayat in Bonai was also allegedly attacked by some unidentified miscreants while returning home from campaigning.

She has been admitted to the Rourkela Government Hospital for treatment.

Occurrences of Political vendetta does not stop here. Fresh bombing at the house of an independent Sarpanch candidate in Kathakhunta village under Narasinghpur Police limits in Cuttack and arsoning of a temporary campaigning booth at Gop block in Puri has proved that pre-poll violence has spread to almost every corner of the State.

Odisha will go for Panchayat polls on February 16, 2022

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