Dilip Kumar

Bhubaneswar/Salipur: The brutal killing of BJP leader Kulamani Baral and his associate Dibyasingh in Mahanga area of Cuttack district has triggered a political blame game with the Opposition BJP and Congress accusing the ruling BJD of unleashing such political violence in the State.

The BJP, which lost its leader, has taken the matter very seriously while accusing the ruling party of unleashing bloody violence on the political rivals. Union Minister Dharmendra Pradhan and BJP National vice president Baijayant Panda condemned the horrifying crime and demanded stringent action against the perpetrators.

"Kulamani Baral was one who exposed the large-scale corruption in the construction of houses under Pradhan Mantri Awas Yojana (PMAY) in Mahanga block. Being intolerant of Kulamani’s pro-people activities, the BJD went berserk and executed such ghastly crime. We will not tolerate the brutal murder of a people's leader," BJP State president Sameer Mohanty said while taking part in Kulamani’s funeral procession.

Similarly, Leader of Opposition in the Odisha Assembly Pradipta Naik directly hit out at BJD over the incident. He said, “Only the BJD men have murdered him (Baral). Those, who were involved in the killing of Bikash Ranjan Jena in the same region two years ago, have murdered Kulamani Baral."

The Congress party in Odisha too joined the chorus, saying that State government has turned mute even as the crimes including violence against women and murder of political leaders have increased by the day.

Odisha Pradesh Congress Committee president Niranjan Patnaik came down heavily on the State government for turning a silent spectator to such incidents.

“Kulamani was a good leader. The murderous assault on him shows political killings have started in the State. Odisha Government should take this case seriously and initiate stern actions against the assailants,” said Patnaik.

Similarly, the son of the slain leader- Ramakant Baral raised finger at local MLA and Law Minister Pratap Jena in the crime.

"The incident is the fallout of the exposure of massive corruption in the PMAY in the region. The crime was executed at the behest of Law Minister Pratap Jena," alleged Ramakant who lodged a complaint with police, naming 12 persons of Mahanga region who are allegedly involved in the murder of his father.

Reacting to the allegations of BJP, Law Minister Pratap Jena said “It's not a big deal what BJP, as an Opposition party, is saying. But, I am deeply disturbed over Baral Babu’s brutal killing. I will personally look into this murder and assailants will soon be taken to task.”

Notably, on Saturday evening, unidentified miscreants had attacked 75-year-old Kulamani, BJP’s Salipur Mandal in-charge who was also the former block chairman of Mahanga, and his associate Dibyasingh when they were returning home on a bike.

Following the attack, they were immediately shifted to Mahanga Community Health Centre (CHC) where doctors declared Kulamani dead while Dibyasingh was shifted to SCB Cuttack in a critical condition. He succumbed to the injuries later.

Police, with the support of scientific team, have launched investigation to arrest the accused involved in the crime.

"Five teams have been formed to investigate the case and they have carried out raids at multiple places. We will soon reach the accused. Nobody will be spared. We will soon arrest all the accused involved in the crime," said V Jugal Kishore, Cuttack SP (Rural).