Bargarh: A day before the Bijepur bypoll, unidentified miscreants attacked Odisha Labour Minister and BJD leader Susanta Singh’s brother and three of his associates at Banabira village under Sohela block of Bargarh district late last night leaving them grievously injured.
All of them were initially rushed to community health centre at Sohela and later shifted to VIMSAR in Burla as their condition deteriorated.
Police have arrested three persons over their alleged involvement in the attack and seized a live bullet from the spot.
According to reports, Subrat Singh, the minister’s brother, and three others– Kartik Nag, Magi Shah and Khageswar Mahamallik– were intercepted by around 20 persons while they were travelling in a car.
The miscreants then attacked and fired at them before fleeing the spot. They also damaged the vehicle by smashing its windshield with bricks.
“The attack was a fallout of rivalry between two political groups. While three persons have been arrested, two police teams have been formed to nab others involved in the incident,” said additional SP Jashobanta Senapati.
Condemning the attack, Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik said, “Violence has no place in a democracy. The people of Odisha are peace loving. I strongly condemn the cowardly act that took place yesterday night.”
Biju Janata Dal spokesperson Pratap Keshari Deb alleged that the Bharatiya Janata Party orchestrated the attack on Singh as they fear losing the Bijepur bypoll.
On the other hand, the BJP has rubbished the allegations. “BJP doesn’t believe in violence. The ruling party’s allegations are baseless and politically motivated,” said BJP state General Secretary Bhrugu Baxipatra.