Congress Demands Death Sentence For Odisha Teacher's Killer

The demand was voiced by AICC general secretary Randeep Surjewala, who led a Congress team to Bolangir to meet the parents and family members of the teacher at their village during the day.

Congress Demands Death Sentence For Odisha Teacher's Killer

"Is it not a fact that the minister was closely linked to the prime accused?" Randeep Surjewala asked

Bhubaneswar:

Drawing a parallel between the Nirbhaya case and the kidnap and murder of the woman teacher in tribal Kalahandi earlier this month, the opposition Congress on Thursday demanded death sentence for the culprits and booking of Odisha's Minister of State for Home DS Mishra in a criminal conspiracy case, besides sacking him.

The demand was voiced by AICC general secretary Randeep Surjewala, who led a Congress team to Bolangir to meet the parents and family members of the teacher at their village during the day.

Neither Odisha nor the country can accept the brutal killing of the 24-year-old teacher, which is reminiscent of the Nirbhaya incident and Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik must dismiss the minister to pave the way for a fair probe, he told reporters on his return from Bolangir.

The police cannot investigate the case when the "protector" of the prime accused is walking in the corridors of power in Bhubaneswar, Mr Surjewala said.

"The BJD government cannot give justice to the dead teacher's family unless the minister is removed and booked under section 120 (B) of IPC (deals with criminal conspiracy). How can the family get justice when the minister is supervising the investigation of the case? ... The prime accused will get proper punishment if he is immediately removed from his seat of power," he said.

Mr Mishra is allegedly close to the prime accused, who is the president of the private school in which the teacher was employed.

Alleging that the protector of the law has turned out to be its breaker in Odisha, Mr Surjewala told reporters in Bhubaneswar, "This holy state of Lord Jagannath has become a province of crime. The killers are enjoying power and privilege. Not only in this case in which the victim was kidnapped and killed, there is also a big question mark on the safety and security of all girls in the state."

The prime accused can be given his due punishment if the minister is immediately removed from his seat of power, he iterated.

"Is it not a fact that the minister was closely linked to the prime accused? Is it not a fact that BJD ministers spent nights in the educational institutions run by the prime accused? Is it not a fact that girls and women were subjected to sexual exploitation in the prime accused's institutions?" he asked.

The Congress delegation demanded a compensation of Rs one crore for the dead teacher's family, government job for her brother and stringent action against the minister. It also demanded that the case be fast tracked and the trial be completed within 90 days to give speedy justice to the victim's family.

Making an impassioned plea for a special investigation team to probe the case under the watch of the chief justice of Orissa high court, Mr Surjewala said, "How many Nirbhayas will be killed in this country?"

The lady teacher went missing on October 8 and the police kept on assuring her parents that the she is safe at Raipur or some other places. Her body was exhumed from the 10 feet deep in the school playground on October 19. The manner in which the prime accused escaped from the policy custody appears to be the story of a film.

The victim, he said, belonged to the poor weaver community and the Congress delegation assured her family that the party president Sonia Gandhi and leader Rahul Gandhi will stand solidly by them till the prime accused is given capital punishment.

Mr Surjewala also compared the minister's link with the prime accused in the murder with the Lakhimpur Kheri incident in which the son of the union minister of state for home had allegedly run his car on protesting farmers. "Here the MOS is linked with murder and so it is Uttar Pradesh too."

The Congress leader was accompanied by the party's Odisha in-charge A Chellakumar and the state Congress Legislature Party leader Narasingha Mishra during his visit to Bolangir to meet the teacher's hapless family.

Meanwhile, the BJP workers and supporters staged demonstration in different parts of the state and gheroed the offices of the superintendents of police in the districts.

The saffron party organised bandhs in Nuapada, Subarnapur and Boudh districts on Thursday.

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