Updated: November 9, 2021 7:40:59 am
In a show of support, Odisha Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik Monday publicly shared the stage with state Home Minister Dibya Shankar Mishra who has been accused by opposition parties of trying to shield the main suspect in a school teacher’s killing.
Patnaik was at a programme to launch a Smart Health Card scheme under the Biju Swasthya Kalyan Yojana in Kalahandi district, where the killing took place last month. Mishra is the MLA from Junagarh in Kalahandi.
Both BJP and the Congress have been demanding Mishra’s resignation for his alleged links with Govind Sahu, the prime accused in the murder of the 24-year-old teacher, Mamita Meher. Mishra has denied the allegations.
State Congress leader Debasish Patnaik said, “It’s a black day for the state today. Instead of taking action against the minister who is accused of having a role in such a sensational case, the CM chose to share the stage with him (minister), which reflects his priorities.”
“Sharing the stage with the minister is a strong message being sent out by the CM. This shows his support to the accused even as the family awaits justice. The family is already being pressured to change their statements,” BJP MP Sangeeta Singh Deo said.
On Monday morning, over 100 BJP members were detained for trying to barge into the Kalahandi event venue to protest Mishra’s presence. In Bhubaneswar, BJP workers were taken into preventive custody as they carried out a rally to Naveen Niwas.
Meher had gone missing on October 8. Her family had lodged a complaint against Sahu, the school’s principal, accusing him of kidnapping her.
On October 19, Meher’s decomposed body was exhumed from an under-construction stadium. A day later, Sahu was arrested. Police said he had killed her as she had threatened to expose an extra-marital affair of his.
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