Sharmili Mallick

Angul: BJP Angul district unit president Bhagirathi Pradhan, who was arrested by police in connection with the violence near Kanjara in the district after tigress ‘Sundari’ allegedly killed a man of Tainsi village on October 21, was sent to jail after the SDJM Court rejected his bail plea here on Sunday.

Pradhan was nabbed by the Angul police from Mendhasala area in Bhubaneswar early today morning. With this, the total number of arrests made in this connection reached 29.

“So far 29 persons have been arrested in connection with the violence. Pradhan’s driver, Bipin Sahoo who was also involved in the violence was arrested yesterday. Pradhan was arrested today from Bhubaneswar and forwarded to court,” informed Angul SDPO Harihar Pani.

Pradhan was also allegedly involved in the torching of the forest department’s range office in Tikarpada and the forest beat house in Hatibari after the death of a woman of Hatibari village on September 12, he added.

Protesting the arrest, the activists of the saffron party staged demonstration outside the office of Superintendent of Police in Angul.

“The State government made the residents of Satkosia area vulnerable by releasing the tigress into the forest; and in order to prevent itself from criticism, it is using the police as hooligans. People are now more afraid of police than the tigress,” alleged BJP State secretary Kalandi Samal adding that the BJD thinks by arresting the workers of the saffron party, the ongoing protests will end.

He further alleged that the police is acting as per the direction of the 'third floor'.

Earlier on October 21, one Trinath Sahoo of Tainsi village under Satkosia forest division was also allegedly died in the tigress' attack.

Soon after the incident, tension prevailed near Kanjara on Angul-Sambalpur National Highway-55. Villagers torched a police vehicle and pelted stones at police and senior government officials demanding compensation for family of the deceased and relocation of tigress Sundari from the area.

Angul Sub-Collector, Tehsildar and Angul Inspector-in-charge (IIC) were injured in the stone pelting by the villagers. Later, police had to resort to lathicharge in order to disperse the crowd and bring the situation under control.