Bhubaneswar: The state unit of BJP on Sunday reiterated its demand for a CBI probe into the mysterious death of Smritirani Biswal, village level worker (VLW) and in-charge panchayat executive officer (PEO) of Haridaspur, and accused the state machinery of shielding the accused persons in the case.
The party’s Mahila Morcha State President Pravati Parida said dharnas would be staged in front of all district collectors office on November 5 to push for this demand.
“It’s been 18 days now since Smritirani’s death. She was sexually assaulted and murdered. However, despite the assurance of the state government, no headway has been made in the case and the police is maintaining a stoic silence on the issue,” Parida alleged while speaking to reporters here.
The party had threatened to stall the winter session of the state assembly, beginning November 13, if the case was not handed over to the CBI.
Reacting to Parida’s comments, the ruling BJD party said that BJP was resorting a “farce” and was misleading the public by holding regular media briefings on the issue.
Party spokesperson Sulata Deo, in a statement, said that if BJP had any evidence, it should present it before the police and the court instead of spreading lies in the death of the PEO.
She maintained that the police had stepped up its investigation into the controversial death and has arrested a person in connection with the incident. The state government was committed to providing justice to family members, she said.
Parida, in her media interaction, also raised the issue of alleged sexual harassment of a working woman by a BJD leader in Kendrapada. She alleged that the police had failed to take any step in the matter despite the woman making repeated rounds of the police station.
On October 16, Smitarani Biswal was found hanging inside a room at a guesthouse, ‘Rangasala’. Three days later police had arrested the owner of the guesthouse, Rupesh Bhadra, who is also the husband of Haridaspur sarpanch Madhusmita Bhadra, on abetment of suicide charges.
Since her death, the BJP had been accusing police of lop-sided investigation and indulging in character assassination of the deceased by crafting a triangular love story to settle the matter. Former DGP and senior BJP leader Prakash Mishra had earlier said that circumstantial evidence hinted at murder after rape.
Meanwhile, Smitarani family had decided to leave their native village following threats. Her husband had earlier approached Odisha Human Rights Commission, seeking a demanding re-investigation of the case. He even accused Jajpur police of distorting evidence and shielding the accused.