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Vikash Sharma

Bhubaneswar: Three farmers from Athagarh block in Cuttack district attempted to end their lives in front of Odisha Assembly on Friday. However, the trio was immediately whisked away by security personnel deployed at the spot.

As per reports, the three farmers tried to set themselves on fire by pouring kerosene on their bodies. It is alleged that they resorted to such extreme step over the alleged loan irregularities in Athagarh district cooperative bank.

The trio alleged that some miscreants availed loans from the cooperative bank by fraudulently using their names. As a result of such fraud, they were forced to repay the loan amount.

It is suspected the farmers were forced to highlight such irregularities after the concerned authorities failed to take action on their grievances despite past several months.

Earlier several farmers in Athagarh had alleged financial mismanagement in Cuttack Central Cooperative Bank. They had alleged that money to the tune of over Rs 1 crore was siphoned off from the bank accounts of several people in the district.

The victims alleged Odisha Cooperation Minister Ranendra Pratap Swain’s brother, Birendra Pratap Swain’s role in the scam. Birendra was the president of the Cuttack Central Cooperative Bank.

The farmers had staged a demonstration in connection with the incident in Athagarh on Wednesday.

Meanwhile, the incident has again raised concerns over the security arrangements for Odisha Assembly especially when the Winter Session in underway.

Earlier on Tuesday, a couple from Nayagarh district had attempted to commit suicide in front of Odisha Assembly when they were stopped by the security personnel.

The couple was reportedly forced to take such step to press for justice for their 5-year-old daughter ‘Pari’ who was brutally murdered in the month of July this year.

The incident has now sparked a massive public outcry with Opposition parties targeting Odisha government alleging lapses in investigation on the kidnapping and murder of a the girl from Nayagarh.

The Opposition parties have also turned heat on the State government and are demanding immediate resignation of Minister Arun Sahoo for his alleged complicity in the murder case.

(Edited By Suryakant Jena)

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