Odisha Sun Times Bureau
Dhenkanal, Apr 8:
A day after the lynching of a senior executive of Mangatlal Rungta Ltd in Meramundali in Odisha’s Dhenkanal district, anger over the non-fulfillment of promises made by the company at the time of land acquisition has emerged as the reason behind the gruesome killing.
Additional vice president Siba Narayan Mishra was waylaid and brutally attacked with iron rods by a section of disgruntled casual staff while he way on his way to the factory premises yesterday morning. A critically injured Mishra was rushed to a private hospital in Cuttack, but succumbed to his injuries soon after arrival.
Based on the statement given by Mishra minutes before his death, the police arrested Sujit Sahu and Tikayat Pradhan, two leaders of the casual workers’ union who allegedly led the attack. The two accused were produced before a local court here today and sent to jail after their bail plea was rejected.
While Sujit was the vice president of the union, Tikayat was its secretary.
According to police, Sujit and Tikayat had lost their land during land acquisition for the ferro alloys unit in 2009. The company had assured them of contractual jobs, which were to be made permanent later. They bore a grudge against the company after it failed to make good its promises. They had pleaded with the AVP on many occasions to press their demand for inclusion in the company’s regular payroll or a pay hike. Their anger was directed at the AVP after he allegedly refused their demands.
“They were land losers and had met the company officials several times to put forth their demands for inclusion in the permanent payroll and revision of their pay. When their demands were not met, these disgruntled men planned to lynch him,” Dhenkanal SDPO, Rajkishore Dora said.
Family members of Sujit and Tikayat, however, refuse to buy the police story and maintain that they were being implicated in the case because they were union leaders.
“He has been targeted and falsely implicated because he was the vice president of the workers’ union,” Sujit’s brother Kshiord Kumar Sahoo said.
The reaction of Tikayat’s family members was no different. “My brother has been falsely implicated as he was in the employees’ union,” Tikayat’s sister Minati Pradhan said.
Meanhwile, Nityanada Khuntia, the driver of Mishra’s car and the lone eyewitness in the case, today recounted the sequence of events leading up to his boss’ tragic death yesterday.
“A dense smog-like air appeared before the vehicles glass as a fly ash loaded truck overtook us. When I lowered the speed of the car, some men appeared before the car. While one of them approached me and put a chopper on my neck, the rest dragged my boss out of the car and took him some distance away and beat him up mercilessly,” said Khuntia, still to come to terms with his boss’ murder right before his eyes.