Ready for SIT probe into child’s murder: Odisha CM

Alleging inaction, Oppn. parties have been demanding Minister’s resignation

With Opposition parties training gun for ouster of Odisha Agriculture Minister Arun Kumar Sahu, the Odisha Government on Friday said it was ready for a probe by Special Investigation Team (SIT) into the murder of a five-year-old girl, Pari.

Parents of Pari had on Tuesday (November 24) attempted self-immolation in front of the State Assembly. They had alleged that Nayagarh district police were reluctant to arrest the main accused, Babuli Nayak, as he was a close confidant of Mr. Sahu.

Audio clips in which the Minister was purportedly heard instructing a man not to raise the issue had made the matter worse. Member of the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) and the Congress has started demanding resignation of Mr. Sahu both inside and outside the House.

As the Assembly witnessed persistent disruptions due to vociferous demand for the Minister’s resignation, Speaker Surjya Narayan Patro had directed Minister of State for Home Dibyashankar Mishra to give a statement.

Subsequently, the State government ordered an investigation into the murder by Crime Branch. But it could not satisfy the Opposition, who kept demanding resignation of Mr. Sahu.

“If SIT investigation is what is required, State government will take steps in this regard and do it immediately. My government is always committed for free and fair investigation and we always want justice to be done,” Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik said on Thursday.

“I am deeply saddened by the incident. My government will always stand for rule of law. I would request the members to cooperate and participate,” said Mr. Patnaik.

The girl was found murdered under mysterious circumstances in Jadupur village in Nayagarh district on July 14. Parents, Ashok and Soudamini Sahu, alleged that one Babuli Nayak who was involved in organ trade had committed the crime.

Giving a statement on the issue, Minister Sahu said, “I am deeply hurt by the murder of kid, Pari. I sincerely hope Pari’s family gets justice. In my political life, I have always been against violence. Whoever is involved in the crime must be punished. Political parties should desist from politicising the issue.”

Suicide prevention helpline: Sanjivini, Society for Mental Health, Telephone: 011-4076 9002, Monday-Saturday, 10 a.m. -7.30 p.m.

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