Bhubaneswar: Odisha’s health and family welfare minister Naba Kishore Das became the first minister in the state to be assassinated in the state and the second lawmaker after the killing of BJD MLA Jagabandhu Majhi by Maoists in 2011.
While Das was killed in Jharsuguda district allegedly by a police officer, who is suffreing from mental disorder, on January 29, 2023, Majhi died in firing by Maoists during an official function in Nabarangpur district.
The Odisha government allocated personal security officers (PSOs) to all lawmakers after Majhi’s killing in 2011, a home department official said.
The attack on health minister Das at Gandhi Chhak in Brajarajnagar of Jharsuguda district, reminded people of the vulnerability of public figures in this insurgency hit state.
Jagabandu Majhi as the then MLA of Umerkote in Nabarangpur district was distributing land-ownership certificates at a village in his constituency when three unidentified men opened fire on him and his personal security officer (PSO) in September 2011. The legislator and the PSO died in the incident.
Involvement of Maoists was suspected in the attack.
Similarly, two persons opened fire on the then tourism and culture minister Maheshwar Mohanty while he was driving a scooter back home from a function in Puri town on February 22, 2014.
However, Mohanty survived the attack as doctors removed bullets from his left arm and back. Police investigation revealed that the attack was possibly because of a real estate dispute.
Former JMM leader and now a BJD MLA Sudam Marandi, also faced an attack by suspected Maoists. Marandi, however, escaped the assassination attempt.
Three security men accompanying Marandi were killed in the incident. The incident took place during a football match near Bandam village in Mayurbhanj district.
Similarly, a Congress MLA from Champua in Keonjhar Dhanurjay Sidhu also faced an assassination attempt. Unidentified men opened fire when the MLA was going to an event in his own vehicle on February 26, 2007. He, too survived after doctors removed bullets from his lower abdomen.
Odisha’s Minister for Commerce and Transport Tukuni Sahu’s husband Abhimanyu Sahu, also a BJD leader, was however hacked to death by some miscreants when he was on a morning walk on December 15, 2013.