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Devbrat Patnaik

Cuttack: State Law Minister and the BJD MLA from Mahanga, Pratap Jena faced strong opposition on Saturday during his visit to the area as hundreds of workers of the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) staged a sit-in outside Mahanga police station by covering their mouth with black cloth as a mark of protest.

The protestors led by Cuttack BJP leader Jagnyaseni Jena held placards and covered their mouth with black cloth during the sit-in. The minister was reportedly invited by the Works department for inauguration of a bridge in Kushupur of Mahanga when he was opposed by the BJP members.

The members of the saffron party have sought action against the Law Minister and all others who have been named in the FIR filed in connection with the brutal murder of senior BJP leader and former Mahanga block chairman Kulamani Baral and his associate Dibyasingha. The party workers have also demanded his ouster from the Naveen Cabinet.

"The minister should have been interrogated by the police as he is one of the accused named in the complaint. It is surprising to see the police protecting him. Even Works Departments is inviting him for programmes, denting the culture of Mahanga. He (law minister) doesn't have any shame. He should have resigned on moral grounds," said the BJP leader.

Mahanga BJP leader Purnachandra Mohapatra said, "His (Pratap Jena's) name finds a mention in the FIR. It is unfortunate that Naveen Patnaik hasn't ousted him from the Cabinet. In a democratic country, law is same for everyone."

The minister was however not available for comments.

Earlier this month, 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.

READ | Mahanga Double Murder: Odisha Going Bengal Way, Law & Order Has Crumbled – Says Jay Panda

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