Naveen Patnaik defends police probe in women panchayat officer’s death

Biswal, the in-charge panchayat extension officer (PEO) of Haridaspur gram panchayat of Jajpur district, was found hanging from the ceiling of a guesthouse run by the husband of local sarpanch on October 16.
Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik hit out at the opposition for ‘doing’ politics over the death of a woman panchayat officer(PTI Photo/File)
Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik hit out at the opposition for ‘doing’ politics over the death of a woman panchayat officer(PTI Photo/File)
Updated on Nov 22, 2019 10:46 PM IST
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Hindustan Times, Bhubaneswar | ByHT Correspondent

Odisha Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik has slammed the BJP and the Congress for doing “inhuman politics” over the death of a woman panchayat officer, Smitarani Biswal, and said his government will ensure justice is done in all cases related to women and children. Patnaik also cited figures to back his claim.

Biswal, the in-charge panchayat extension officer (PEO) of Haridaspur gram panchayat of Jajpur district, was found hanging from the ceiling of a guesthouse run by the husband of local sarpanch on October 16. The husband of the sarpanch, alleged to be a BJD leader, has already been arrested for abetment of suicide. But the BJP has been demanding a CBI probe, claiming that Biswal was raped and murdered and did not take her own life as claimed by the police.

Patnaik said those not satisfied with investigations could seek relief from courts but should desist from politicising “sad events” like rape, murder and death of women.

“Politicising any human tragedy is inhuman. We are a mature democracy and we represent 4.5 crore Odia people. Let us set high standards of political discourse both in the assembly and outside. If anyone is not satisfied with the investigation, there is a legal fora for relief,” he added.

Patnaik said the conviction in alarming cases had gone up to 41 per cent in Odisha and his government will take “exemplary action” in cases of neglect, especially relating to women and children.

The chief minister said prompt and professional investigation had led to award of death penalties in four sensational cases of rape and murder of minor girls. He added that the overall law and order situation in Odisha, including the left-wing extremism, was largely under control. He asked the police to not worry about registering high number of cases and just commit to doing their job without fear or favour.

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Saturday, May 28, 2022