Bhubaneswar, Nov 4: The opposition BJP on Thursday called for a 12-hour bandh in Odisha’s Gajapati district on November 6 to protest against the BJD government’s alleged inaction against Minister of State for Home D S Mishra, who has been charged with patronising the prime accused in the kidnap and murder of a woman teacher last month. The youth wing of the saffron camp also decided to stage demonstrations with black flags at places where Mishra will visit, a leader said.
During the day, a group of BJP leaders led by party’s national vice-president Baijayant Panda, spokesperson Sambit Patra and MLA Jayant Sarangi attended a programme to light ‘diyas’ (earthen lamps) near Shree Jagannath Temple at Puri in memory of the woman teacher. The Congress also demanded verification of call details of two associates of Mishra to ascertain the truth behind the case.
Addressing a press conference, BJP Yuva Morcha state president Irasish Acharya said, “Our activists will welcome Mishra with black flags and such protest will continue till he resigned or is sacked. The party has given a 12-hour bandh call in Gajapati on November 6.” Senior Congress leader and former MP Bhakta Charan Das and party MLA S Saluja demanded that “records of phone calls of Mishra’s two associates must be verified to find out his involvement in the case”. “A telephonic conversation among the prime accused and the family members of the teacher indicated that the main suspect had a close relationship with the minister. In the audio clip that went viral, he was heard of assuring her family members that he would request the minister of state for home to expedite the search for the woman who went missing on October 8,” a Congress leader claimed.
The Congress had on Wednesday alleged that several officers at the Odisha Chief Minister’s Office (CMO) are shielding Mishra. Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik would have sacked Mishra had he not been shielded by some influential people at the CMO, Das had said.
Opposition parties are mounting pressure on Patnaik to sack Mishra from the council of ministers alleging that he is close to the prime accused. The body of the 24-year-old teacher was on October 19 exhumed from the playground of the school where she worked. Two persons, including the prime accused, who is the president of the managing committee of the private school in Kalahandi district, have been arrested in this connection.
The police said the prime suspect in the kidnap and murder case had a grudge against the teacher as she was aware of his two extra-marital affairs and had warned that she would expose him.
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