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Dilip Kumar

Bhubaneswar: Opposition parties in Odisha- BJP and Congress- on Tuesday staged demonstrations separately in protest against the brutal murder of two political leaders that took place at Mahanga in Cuttack district on Saturday.

The protesters belonging to both the parties demanded the resignation of Law Minister and Mahanga MLA Pratap Jena, alleging his role in the ghastly crime.

The student wing of Odisha Congress (Chhatra Congress) took out a bike rally from Congress Bhawan in Bhubaneswar to Jena’s official residence at Forest Park raising slogan against the Minister. They were however, prevented mid-way by the police near Sishu Bhawan square following which they burnt Jena’s effigy and staged demonstration demanding his ouster from the State Cabinet.

"We staged a demonstration today and tried to gherao the residence of Law Minister Pratap Jena for his complicity in the brutal political murders in his constituency. If he tries to meddle in the investigation we will intensify our protest and take it to every panchayat across the State. The minister will be greeted with eggs wherever he goes now," said an activist of the student wing of Odisha Congress.

The Minister should resign from his post immediately. If he doesn't do so, the agitation will be intensified further, he added.

Another protester said "Minister Pratap Jena has set a trend in his constituency. Anybody going against the BJD will face elimination. He has no moral rights to remain in power.  If he doesn't resign on his own, he will face the wrath of 'Chhatra Congress' on the streets."

Apprehending further tension, police have deployed four platoons of forces at the Sishu Bhawan square and made elaborate security arrangements outside the residence of Jena.

Similarly, BJP has also hit the streets at different places in western Odisha over the issue. Party activists staged demonstration in Rourkela and Raghunathpali in Sundergarh district. They burnt Law Minister Pratap Jena’s effigy in front of Raghunathpalli sector-15 police station and Plant Site police station alleging Jena's involvement in the crime.

"Minister Pratap Jena is involved in the brutal murder of Kulamani Baral in Mahanga. We demonstrated in front of different police stations in Rourkela today demanding the Minister’s immediate ouster. We will gherao the office of Superintendent of Police (SP) tomorrow and the DGP’s office a day after tomorrow. Our fight will continue till we get justice," said BJP spokesperson Dhiren Jena who led the agitation in Rourkela.

The saffron party workers also intensified their agitation in Sambalpur demanding the ouster of the Law Minister from the State Cabinet.

"Odisha, which was once considered to be a land of peace, is going Bengal way with numerous political murders as ruling BJD is doing vindictive politics. Now-a-days, political violence has become a regular affair in the State," senior BJP leader and MLA Jay Narayan Mishra said.

It is worth mentioning that Kulamani Baral and his associate Dibyasingh Baral were murdered by unknown assailants on Saturday evening. The tragic incident took place when Kulamani was returning home along with his associate Dibyasingh on a bike. Some miscreants attacked them with sharp weapons leaving them critically injured. Kulamani was declared dead at Mahanga Community Health Centre (CMC) while Dibyasingh succumbed to injuries while undergoing treatment at SCB Medical College and Hospital in Cuttack next day.

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