Odisha Health Minister Naba Kisore Das was today shot by an assistant sub-inspector at Gandhi Chowk near Brajarajnagar in Jharsuguda district on Sunday around 1 pm. He was on his way to attend a programme when he was shot in the chest. The police officer shot two rounds, critically injuring the minister, who was rushed to a hospital. He was later airlifted to Bhubaneswar, witnesses said.
"Assistant Sub-inspector of Police (ASI) Gopal Das opened fire at the minister. The minister is injured and rushed to hospital," Brajrajnagar Sub-Divisional Police Officer Gupteswar Bhoi told reporters. Gopal Das was caught by locals, and has been taken into custody, the police said
Witnesses claim he was shot just as he stepped out of his vehicle. The motives behind the attack are still unclear.
Videos from the spot showed Mr Das bleeding from the chest with people trying to lift the injured minister, who seemed unconscious, and place him on the front seat of a car.
At a public grievance office opening, Naba Das was the chief guest. When he arrived, a crowd gathered to welcome him. Suddenly, loud bangs were heard. "We saw a police personnel running away after shooting from close range," a witness said.
Odisha Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik condemned the attack, and directed the crime branch to investigate it.
"I am shocked at the unfortunate incident of attack. I strongly condemn this and pray for his early recovery. Crime Branch is directed to take up investigation. Senior officers of Crime Branch are asked to go to the spot," he said.
Odisha CM Naveen Patnaik consoles the son of Health Minister Naba Das who was shot at in Brajarajnagar, Jharsuguda district.— ANI (@ANI) January 29, 2023
The state minister is under medical treatment at a private hospital in Bhubaneswar. pic.twitter.com/n5rOIpbnuj
Tension prevailed in the town after the incident, with supporters of Mr Das questioning "security lapses". Some of them claimed that a conspiracy was hatched to target him.