Vikash Sharma

Bhubaneswar: The Odisha government under pressure from Opposition parties and large-scale public outrage over the soft paddling in the investigation into the sensational murder of five-year-old Nayagarh girl Pari, finally agreed to institute probe by a special Investigation Team (SIT), on Saturday.

Parliamentary Affairs Minister in the Naveen Patnaik government, Bikram Kesari Arukha made the announcement in the State assembly on Saturday while adding that the notification in this regard will be released soon.

Significantly, Arukha’s announcement came a day after the Opposition parties attacked the government, Naveen Patnaik in Particular, over the ambiguity in the announcement by the latter regarding a SIT probe made on the floor of the House through video-conferencing on Friday.

In that background, Arukha’s announcement failed to pacify the Opposition which continued its attack on the government by creating noisy scenes in the House over the issue, forcing Speaker SN Patro to adjourn the proceedings till 3 pm. Notably, this is for the third time in as many days the Odisha Assembly ceased to have a normal functioning as the main opposition parties appear to be in no mood to give any leg room to the government over the murder of the little girl that has sent shockwaves across the state for its brutality.

Raising the issue on Saturday, senior Congress leader Narasingha Mishra said that the Speaker had asked the Minister of State (Home) to brief the House on four aspects related to the murder. However, the minister, Divyashankar Mishra, only touched upon one aspect related to the case while omitting the other three aspects conveniently, alleged Mishra.

Leader of Opposition Pradipta Naik said that the Chief Minister was shielding Minister Arun Sahoo whose complicity in the crime has been alleged by the victim’s parents.

It is worth mentioning that the Opposition demand not only include the investigation of the case by an independent agency, it has also asked the government for calibrated action against Minister Sahoo after accusations were made over his involvement in shielding the culprits.

The parents of the victim who attempted suicide in front of Odisha Assembly on Tuesday, had accused Sahoo of protecting the main perpetrator of the crime, identified as Babuli Nayak, a local strongman and member of the ruling BJD party.

Earlier on Friday, Patnaik had stated that “If SIT investigation is what is required, the State government will take steps in this regard and do it immediately.”

“My government is always committed for free and fair investigation and we always want justice to be done. I am deeply saddened by the incident. My government will always stand for Rule of Law. I would request all the members to cooperate and participate,” said Patnaik while reading out a statement.

Following Patnaik’s clarification on the government’s stand over the case, the BJP struck to its earlier demand for a CBI probe while asking the Chief Minister to clarify on the latter’s suggestion for a SIT probe.

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