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Ramakanta Biswas

Nabarangpur: Trouble seems to be mounting for Congress leader and former MP Pradip Majhi with Nabarangpur police on Friday registering a suo-motu case against him for purportedly provoking supporters to carry out arson attack while staging protest against alleged rape and murder of a minor girl in Kosagumuda area on December 14.

Majhi was on Thursday caught on camera directing his party workers over phone to set ablaze everything after getting orders. The matter came to fore after a video of entire incident which took place during bandh call by the party in Nabarangpur was televised by OTV.

“Keep petrol and diesel ready. The moment you get an order, set everything on fire. We’ll see what happens next,” Majhi was caught on camera, while talking to someone over phone.

Taking note of the incident, Nabarangpur Police has registered a case against Majhi under Sections 147, 341, 353, 283, 506, 435, 120 (B) of IPC & Section 3 of PDPP.

While Majhi has come under sharp attack for his remark with leaders of several political parties condemning it, the ex-MP, while responding to OTV on the FIR lodged by police, has said that neither he nor his party workers are concerned over the move.

“We do not fear police action because we know it is a ploy of Odisha government to throttle the voice of those who try to raise voice against its misgovernance," said Majhi.

Taking a dig at the police, Majhi said, "Why only a handful of people, they are free to register cases against people of the entire district."

The State unit of Congress has reportedly sought an explanation from Majhi in the matter.

“I have asked him for an explanation for his statement. Only 24 hours have passed, but given rising atrocities on girls and women in tribal areas and police inaction, his anger is understandable,” said OPCC chief Niranjan Patnaik while speaking to Republic TV.

On the other hand, the BJP has slammed the Congress while condemning Majhi's inflammatory comments.

"Congress is boasting about non-violence but it has now chosen the path of violence. Pradip Majhi said that they are following Subash Bose's ideology by resorting to extremism but the freedom fighter never promoted such thinking. We strongly condemn it," said BJP spokesperson Golak Mohapatra.

As per reports, Majhi was staging protest near Kaunriaguda Chhak in the morning when the Additional SP of Nabarangpur intervened and asked him to withdraw agitation triggering an exchange of words between them. An infuriated Majhi later reportedly called his followers and asked them to keep petrol and diesel ready.

Soon after the former lawmaker’s call, a car parked in Nabarangpur town was seen burning.

"Congress believes in violence. Yesterday Odisha's former Congress MP Pradip Majhi was caught red-handed saying 'keep petrol, diesel ready, set everything ablaze when I say.' Congress is scared & trying to create violence," said Union Minister Dharmendra Pradhan.

Amidst the on-going heat over Pradip Majhi’s statements, senior BJD leader Sanjay Das Burma’s remarks on the alleged rape and murder of the 16-year-old girl at Kusagumuda has given a new twist to the controversy.

“Such statements from a former MP were totally uncalled for. Nabarangpur residents will best judge the comments made by former MP Pradip Majhi. However, the alleged Kosagumuda minor girl rape and murder incident for which the protest was launched is not based on facts,” said Das Burma.

Earlier on December 14, the body of the 16-year-old girl was recovered from an agriculture field. The family members of the deceased had then alleged that the girl was murdered after rape.

“We don’t know who did this but we suspect that the girl was killed after rape and several persons might be involved in the incident,” a family member of the deceased had said on December 14.

Meanwhile, Sanjay Das Burma’s statements today kicked off another controversy.

“Sanjay Das Burma was not present at the spot and making such statements sitting some 600 kms away is condemnable as he is not a doctor or an investigating officer. Moreover, as the post mortem report is yet to be made public, how can the BJD leader say that nothing happened,” said Kadimbini Tripathy, President of Nabarangpur Maa Ghar.

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