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Protest after youth murder

Sandeep Kumar Nanda’s family and friends look at his post-mortem report at Capital Hospital in Bhubaneswar.
Picture by Ashwinee Pati

Bhubaneswar, April 2: Residents of Ghatikia village surrounded Khandagiri police station and blocked NH-5 for more than 30 minutes this afternoon. The protesters were demanding the arrest of the prime accused in case of an attack on a youth who succumbed to injuries last night. Police have arrested eight persons in connection with the incident.

Sandeep Kumar Nanda, 28, was beaten to death by around 20 people of his village last night at Ghatikia on the city outskirts. Though the exact reason of the murder was not known, family members of the deceased suspected it to be the fallout of a past enmity.

The deceased, who had a masters degree in business administration and was applying for jobs, was returning from a gymnasium at Bharatpur when the attackers detained him near the village. They attacked him with iron rods and sticks. His family members alleged that the attackers even had ran motorcycles over his body.

Sandeep’s younger brother Sanjeeb said around 9pm on Sunday, his brother called their father, Dillip, on the phone and said that some people of his village had detained him around half-a-kilometre away from his house.

“He was scared and wanted help. Father soon rushed to the spot. By the time he reached, they had beaten up my brother and he was lying unconscious. Some of the attackers were checking whether he was alive or not,” said Sanjeeb, an artist, adding that they fled as soon as they saw Dillip.

Sandeep was rushed to a private hospital nearby, but later referred to another hospital. But he died on the way. “When we admitted him to a private hospital near Acharya Vihar around midnight, the doctors announced he was dead. We also lodged a complaint with Khandagiri police,” said the brother.

The Khandagiri police later conducted raids and arrested eight persons involved in the attack. However, the victim’s family members alleged that three brothers, Ashok Bout, Ashis Bout and Aswini Bout, were the prime accused because they had a quarrel with Dillip on Holi.

“In Holi, my father took the responsibility of organising a special event called Melan, which had been not baan taking place for the past several decades in our village. However, some people of the area including the Bout family, were opposing my father. I think this might be a cause of the attack. My father saw the Bout brothers on the spot,” Sanjeeb said.

The villagers alleged that though the prime accused were known, the police, instead of arresting them, only caught their aides. The villagers today withdrew their protest only after senior police officers assured them of prompt action against the accused.

Sources said Dillip was a builder and the police suspect that land dispute could be a cause. Sandeep’s body has been handed to the family members after autopsy at Capital Hospital. “We are trying to arrest the prime accused soon,” said a senior police officer.