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Saturday, Dec 14, 2019

Odisha politician, about to join BJD, hacked to death over old rivalry: Police

Ramachandra Behera, who contested the assembly poll in 2014 from Keonjhar’s Ghasipura assembly constituency as an Independent, had stepped out of his house in Dhakotha area when he was attacked with sharp weapons.

lok-sabha-elections Updated: Mar 26, 2019 12:31 IST
Debabrata Mohanty
Debabrata Mohanty
Hindustan Times, Bhubaneswar
Police said the murder of the 61-year-old politician seems to have been over an old rivalry with another family in the area.
Police said the murder of the 61-year-old politician seems to have been over an old rivalry with another family in the area.(Getty Images/Representative image)
         

An Independent candidate, about to join the ruling BJD, was hacked to death in Odisha’s Keonjhar district by unknown men late on Monday, police said on Tuesday, in the first instance of poll violence in the state ahead of the Lok Sabha election 2019.

Ramachandra Behera, who contested the assembly poll in 2014 from Keonjhar’s Ghasipura assembly constituency as an Independent, had stepped out of his house in Dhakotha area when he was attacked with sharp weapons.

Keonjhar’s superintendent of police JN Pankaj said the murder of the 61-year-old politician seems to have been over an old rivalry with another family in the area.

“Behera was supposed to join the BJD today (Tuesday). But the murder was over old rivalry with Prusty family in the area. The Prustys thought that if Behera joins the ruling BJD, then he will gain upper hand and can browbeat them,” said Pankaj.

Police have so far arrested three people and are on the lookout of other suspects in the attack which took place at around 10:45pm on Monday.

“My father had food with some people who had come to our house last (Sunday) night. After they finished dinner, my father walked out with them and in a few moments some people came and rained blows on him with sharp weapons. One of his hands was severed in the attack. The miscreants then ran away,” said Behera’s daughter.

A profusely-bleeding Behera was first taken to a local hospital and then SCB Medical College and Hospital in Cuttack, where he was declared dead. Doctors said Behera died due to massive bleeding and could have been saved if he had been treated on time.

Behera had polled around 15,800-odd votes in the 2014 assembly election and placed third ahead of the Congress candidate in Ghasipura. He was also the former chairperson of Anandpur panchayat samiti.

The Ghasipura assembly seat will vote on April 23 in the third phase of the election. The counting of votes will be held along with those polled in the simultaneous Lok Sabha election on May 23.