Rayagada: In an alleged political violence, former Lok Sabha MP and Utkal Bharat President Kharabela Swain was attacked today while addressing a public gathering at Kashipur in Odisha’s Rayagada district.
The entire incident has been captured on camera. The matter came to light after the ex-MP posted the video on his Facebook account.
This is the third such incident in the past two months. Earlier Swain, a three-time MP, was assaulted at Aul in Kendrapara and later at Khaira in Balasore districts for giving ‘speech’ against the ruling BJD.
Acting promptly after today’s incident, the police have arrested Sumant Nayak for attacking Swain, informed Rayagada SP Rahul P R, adding further investigation is underway.
The former Balasore MP, speaking to reporters here, alleged that his attacker is a BJD supporter. “A young man first hurled abuses at me asking me why I am giving speech against BJD. Later, he attacked me with mike stand. I fell down on the ground,” he said.
The veteran leader directly blamed Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik, saying “these youths are acting under the instructions of our CM”.
The former MP further alleged that the police, despite giving them assurance, couldn’t turn up for the event.
The BJD, condemning the incident, dismissed the allegation levelled by Swain. “The youth who attacked Kharavela Swain is not at all related with BJD,” BJD Vice President N. Bhaskar Rao.
Meanwhile, the incident has been condemned by leaders across party lines in the State.
“Strongly condemn the attack on former MP Shri Kharabela Swain. Violence has no place in a thriving democracy. Sadly BJD and its Naveen Gunda Vahini don’t understand it,” Odisha Pradesh Congress Committee President Niranjan Patnaik tweeted.
Strongly condemn the attack on former MP Shri Kharabela Swain. Violence has no place in a thriving democracy. Sadly BJD and its Naveen Gunda Vahini don’t understand it.
— Niranjan Patnaik (@NPatnaikOdisha) November 24, 2018
Similarly, the State unit of BJP echoed the sentiment of Congress. “The incident proves double standards of Naveen Patnaik who on one hand preaches non-violence, while on the other such violent attacks are being perpetrated,” said Odisha BJP Vice President Sameer Mohanty.
On the other hand, the Rayagada SP said the case has been handed over to the State Crime Branch for an impartial probe. “Stringent action would be taken against the accused if found guilty after completion of investigation,” the SP added.