Odisha journalist allegedly attacked by sand mining mafia in Balasore
A journalist of an Odia daily in coastal Balasore district was grievously injured after illegal sand miners allegedly attacked him on Wednesday night while he was returning home from office.
Pratap Patra, a reporter of leading Odia daily Samaj, was attacked on his head, chest and hands with sharp weapons at Gunapur Chhak on Baliapal-Kamarda road of Balasore, 230 km north of Bhubaneswar at around 9 pm. Baliapal police station inspector in-charge Prabhu Kalyan Acharya said the journalist survived as he was wearing a helmet.
Patra was first rushed to Community Health Centre at Baliapal by some locals and then shifted to the district headquarters hospital in Balasore. His condition was stated to be stable.
“The bike-borne miscreants chased him and rained blows on his head and body with sharp weapons. His helmet broke after taking the initial blows. He suffered gashes on his head, chest and hand. The miscreants also snatched away his mobile phone and gold necklace before fleeing from the spot,” said Acharya
The inspector said no FIR has been lodged so far, but the police have taken up the matter and started an investigation.
Patra told the police that he had reported about the sand mafia in Balasore a few days ago which angered some people. Police said the journalist received threats over last few days. The journalist later told the local press that he knew the attackers and handed over a list of names to the police.
The National Green Tribal in January had passed an order asking the Balasore district administration to stop illegal sand mining near the Subarnarekha river. Due to heavy demand of sand in different parts of Odisha for developmental and welfare projects and demand of quality sand in neighboring states, the mafia reportedly scooped away tonnes of sand causing severe damage to embankments and roads.