Devbrat Patnaik

Cuttack: National Vice-President of the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) Baijayant 'Jay' Panda Wednesday visited Nrutanga village under Mahanga police station in Cuttack district to meet family members of slain BJP leader Kulamani Baral and his associate Dibyasingh Baral. Panda has demanded a proper investigation into the case and arrest of all the culprits involved in the brutal double murder.

Strongly condemning the dastardly act, Panda dubbed it as a political murder and said, "This is highly condemnable, but to be honest such incidents are no more unfamiliar in Odisha. Crime against women and minor children is on the rise, and we have come across several political murders - almost 16-17 in the recent past, with no headways as yet."

"The disturbing reality is that despite having apprised police and CM Naveen Patnaik about the threat to his life and even after seeking security for him and his family, Kulamani Baral was murdered. This itself is a testimony to the fact that law and order situation in Odisha has crumbled to the hilt," Panda rued.

The senior leader of the saffron party further said, "This outrage over the double murder is not just limited to Odisha, but has spread to every nook and corner of the country. It seems the administration here is taking inspiration from West Bengal. Such types of political attacks are carried out at the behest of the local leaders."

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A deeply anguished Panda also raked up the attack on him during his visit to Mahanga when he was with the BJD. "Four years back, when I became a victim of a vendetta politics in the region, Kulamani Babu had raised his voice. He was a courageous leader. I appeal to the people of the State to come together and evade such violent atmosphere. We need the blessings of Lord Jagannath for a crime-free Odisha," he said during the prayer meet held in memory of the deceased duo Kulmani Baral and Dibyasingha Baral in Mahanga.

Recently taking to social media, Panda had levelled accusations against State Law Minister and the present MLA of Mahanga Pratap Jena for his alleged involvement in the case.

A few days ago, former Mahanga block chairman Kulamani Baral was returning home with Dibyasingha on his bike when some miscreants attacked them with sharp-edged weapons near Jankoti in Mahanga of Cuttack. Kulamani was declared brought dead at Mahanga CHC while Dibyasingha succumbed to injuries during treatment at SCB Hospital in Cuttack.

Following the incident, Kulamani's son Ramakant lodged an FIR naming law minister Pratap Jena and 13 others, in which he stated that his father was brutally hacked to death for raising voice against corruption of the BJD government.

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