Naba Kisore Das was shot in the chest when he was on his way to attend a programme in Brajrajnagar town of east Odisha. Assistant Sub-Inspector Gopalkrushna Das had fired two rounds at the minister as he got off his car and was being felicitated by his supporters.
The minister was airlifted to the Apollo Hospital in Bhubaneswar, where he succumbed to his injuries. The hospital said that the bullet had injured the minister's heart and caused internal bleeding.
Prime Minister Narendra Modi tweeted, "Saddened by the unfortunate demise of Minister in Odisha Government, Shri Naba Kishore Das Ji. Condolences to his family in this tragic hour. Om Shanti".
"Shocked and disturbed by the death of Shri Naba Kishore Das ji, Odisha Health minister, in a dastardly act of violence. My deepest condolences to his family and well-wishers," tweeted President Droupadi Murmu.
Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik said that Naba Kisore Das' death was a great loss to Odisha. "He was an asset for both the government and the party. He has successfully carried many initiatives in the health department to the benefit of the people," the Chief Minister said.
Gopal Das was being treated for bipolar disorder by a psychiatrist, reported news agency Press Trust of India. Despite the history of mental disorder, he was in charge of law and order arrangement for the minister's visit. He was issued a service revolver and appointed in-charge of a police post at Brajrajnagar, PTI reported.
Gopal Das was caught by locals, and has been taken into custody, the police said. The Chief Minister has asked the Crime Branch to investigate the incident and a seven-member Special Investigating Team has been formed.
Naba Kisore Das, a strongman in the mining hub of Jharsuguda, had switched to the BJD from the Congress ahead of the 2019 elections.
He was considered a confidant of the Chief Minister. In May 2019, he took oath as the minister of health and family welfare and held onto the portfolio through last June's cabinet overhaul.
The opposition Congress has demanded the resignation of the Chief Minister, accusing him of failing to maintain law and order. "When the government is unable to give security to the cabinet minister, how can it protect lives of the common man?" said Congress MLA Santosh Singh Saluja.
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