Bhubaneswar: Soon after a photograph showing the coffin of martyred Odia jawan Ajit Kumar Sahoo draped in BJD party flag went viral on social media, BJP National Vice President Baijayant ‘Jay’ Panda today sought an apology from the ruling party. The former Parliamentarian also requested the national media to highlight the matter after some Twitteratti posted the photograph while raking up the issue.
“Very unfortunate, politicising the death of an Indian soldier by the ruling party in Odisha draping his coffin with their party flag instead of the Tricolor. Request national media to call this out, & BJD to apologise & commit to never repeating it,” tweeted Jay Panda while quoting a Twitter user.
It is pertinent to mention that mortal remains of martyr Ajit Sahoo reached the Biju Patnaik International Airport late night on Wednesday. Later it was taken to campus of the 120 Infantry Battalion campus, where a guard of honour was accorded.
Governor Ganeshi Lal, several State ministers and political leaders cutting across party lines offered floral tributes to the martyr. The coffin was then taken to Dhenkanal Mini Stadium and later to his native village Badasuanla where his mortal remains was consigned to flames.
However, during the funeral procession, the coffin of the martyred jawan was found draped in BJD flag, a picture of which went viral on social media.
Meanwhile, clarifying on the incident, Parameswar Sahoo, brother of martyred jawan has said, "Some party (BJD) workers paid tributes to my brother near Khuntuni where they draped their party flag on the coffin, but as soon as I realised that laying of a party flag over the Tricolour was improper, I removed it."
Parameswar also urged everyone not to politicise the matter. "My brother has died for the entire country and not for any particular individual or party," he said.
Condemning the incident, State BJP ex-servicemen cell president BK Bastia sought an unconditional apology from BJD president Naveen Patnaik. “Putting the flag of any political party on coffin of a martyr is disgrace to the country. This is not a lone case. Earlier also, a BJD MLA had manhandled relative of Pulwama martyr relative in Niali. Action should be taken against the persons involved in such incident.”
On the other hand, BJD spokesperson Sasmit Patra termed the incident as unfortunate and condemnable. “Our party has respect for the martyrs and we condemn the incident. Stringent action will be taken against those who are involved in this episode.”
Senior Congress leader Panchanan Kanungo also condemned the incident and said, "Such incidents are disrespect to our martyred jawans."
Sahoo, a resident of Badasuanla village in Kamakhyanagar block of Dhenkanal district in Odisha was critically injured in an improvised explosive device (IED) blast in Jammu & Kashmir’s Pulwama district on June 17. He succumbed to injuries while undergoing treatment at the hospital on June 18.