Odishatv Bureau

Bhubaneswar: Union Minister for Petroleum and Natural Gas Dharmendra Pradhan on Saturday blamed Odisha Chief Minister Naveen Patniak for the custodial death and the subsequent riot-like situation in Sambalpur.

Speaking on the sidelines of the inaugural event of the Bhubaneswar-New Delhi Rajdhani Express via Sambalpur City in New Delhi, Pradhan said the state government is trying to tag the custodial death in the Ainthapali police station as a suicide.

Odisha is moving towards a ‘constitutional failure’. The state police is working at the behest of Odisha government. The law and order system in the state is deteriorating as the police have confined themselves to acting only as per the orders of the state government, alleged Pradhan.

“What happened in Sambalpur is alarming. When police engage themselves in politics forgetting their responsibilities, it creates anarchy. Announcement of ex-gratia cannot bring back the deceased youth to life. The ruling BJD government is anti-Dalit, anti-women and anti-youth. People of Odisha will not tolerate the atrocities of police,” the Union Minister added.

Meanwhile, a three-member team of the Human Rights Protection Cell (HRPC) of the State police today reached Ainthapali police station to probe the custodial death. The three-member team comprising a DIG and two officers is supposed to submit its report to the Odisha Human Rights Commission (OHRC) in three weeks.

Earlier on Friday, high alert was sounded in Sambalpur city in the wake of the violence due to the custodial death of a 22-year-old theft accused in which over 30 persons, including 10 cops, were injured.