BJD leader booked for link with Maoists

Phulbani: A ruling BJD leader and prominent Christian functionary in communally sensitive Kandhamal district Junus Pradhan was today arrested for alleged links with Maoists and involvement in recent landmine blasts, police said.

Junus Pradhan, block president of Daringbadi, was picked up from his house in the early hours on charge of his involvement in last week`s landmine blasts near Kotagarh in which four persons including three policemen were killed and three others injured, superintendent of police Jaynarayan Pankaj said.

Pradhan is also the Kandhamal district chief of Christian Janakalyan Samaj, the apex body of tribal Christians in the district.

A landmine went off when a police team with two trained dogs was proceeding in a vehicle on Kotagarh-Srirampur road on January 5 to the site of the blast the previous day in which one person was killed.

The deceased included two police constables and a homeguard, the sources said adding they were identified as Sunasir Mohanty, Umakant Jani and Sangram Lenka. Meanwhile, as soon as the news of Pradhan`s arrest spread, hundreds of BJD supperters had assembled in front of the block office at Daringbadi shouted slogans demanding his immediate release.