Amid alleged kidnap and murder of a 15-year boy in poll-bound Jharsuguda district, senior BJP leader and Union Minister Dharmendra Pradhan slammed the ruling BJD government alleging "lawless Odisha is a reality".
Notably, Samarth Agrawal, a 15-year-old boy, was kidnapped on March 27. His father received a call at around 8.30 p.m. from the kidnappers, who had demanded a ransom of Rs 50 lakh for releasing the child.
The police on Tuesday found the charred body of the boy on a river side in Bargarh district, around 100 km away from Jharsuguda. The crime happened two months after then minister and local MLA Naba Das was shot dead by a policeman in Jharsuguda district on January 29.
Taking to Twitter, Pradhan said this is how high-time people in power (BJD government) recognise the fault-lines in the law and order situation in the state. "Murder of young Samarth exactly within two months of the broad daylight killing of Minister Nabha Das exposes the Odisha government's tall claims on rule of law," he said.
The BJP leader alleged that neither citizens nor public representatives are safe in the state. Gruesome incidents like the above mentioned two murders on a regular basis, particularly in Jharsuguda, have shocked everyone and weakened the trust of people of Odisha, he said.
"No amount of empathy will bring solace to young Samarth's family. The Odisha government must pull up its socks to ensure rule of law and safety of citizens," Pradhan added.
Senior BJD leader and Rajya Sabha member Sasmit Patra countered Pradhan's statement saying BJP-ruled states like Uttar Pradesh, Madhya Pradesh and Maharashtra have more murder cases than Odisha in 2021.
Calling Pradhan as Bhai (brother), Patra said, "Don't insult the peace-loving people of Odisha by branding them as lawless. Don't insult Odisha for your petty political narrative.
It's surprising to see that despite you having been an Hon'ble Union Minister for so long, you are still unaware about the difference between lawlessness (law and order) and crime."
Lawlessness is when during a GST raid in Padampur, Odisha, hundreds of Odisha BJP leaders and workers storm in forcibly, snatch the papers seized by the GST raiding party, in a bid to help the businessman who had cheated in paying GST, he said.
When 500 people block National Highway between Sambalpur to Cuttack, delay in completing NH work for many years and when thousands of farmers protest against Central neglect for not lifting surplus paddy are "law and order" issues, Patra said.
Stating that crime is committed by a group or individuals which is investigated and the guilty are brought to justice, the BJD leader said, "Please don't try to mislead and do politics on sensitive matters of crime."
As per NCRB Report (2021), BJP-ruled states like UP, MP, Maharashtra, Assam & Haryana have more rape cases than Odisha. Similarly, the BJP-ruled states like UP, MP and Maharashtra have more murder cases than Odisha in 2021, the BJD MP said.