Titilagarh/Bhubaneswar, Dec. 15: Unidentified assailants murdered Biju Yuva Janata Dal general secretary Abhimanyu Sahu at Bandopala in Titilagarh, around 500km from here, early this morning.
Sahu, 45, was out on his morning walk when he was attacked. He was found with his throat slit. Local residents rushed him to the sub-divisional hospital, where he was declared brought dead.
Tension gripped Titilagarh as the news of the murder spread. People surrounded the police station demanding immediate arrest of the accused. While the police are yet to ascertain the motive behind the murder, speculations are rife about it being a political murder. A senior police officer said that they were looking into all possible angles and added that the political murder angle was not being ruled out since the Assembly elections were due next year.
Balangir superintendent of police R. Prakash said: “Given the sensitive nature of this case, we had sent a scientific team to the crime scene. But we are yet to find any clue or weapon from the site.”
The police suspect the involvement of more than two persons in the attack. “He was a well-built person. More than two persons appear to have been involved in the killing,” said a senior police officer.
Sahu was an influential leader and was an aspirant for the party ticket for Titilagarh Assembly seat. He had proved his mettle in the recently concluded urban elections in the region and had played a major role in defeating Congress candidates in the neighbouring Kantabanji NAC. Titilagarh and Kantabanji Assembly seats are held by the Congress.
“His sudden rise in politics had not gone down well with a section of leaders both in the Congress and the BJD,” said a political leader of the area.
BJD youth wing chief Dasburma said Sahu’s death was a great loss to the party. “We are going to Titilagarh to express our solidarity with the bereaved family... We demand a proper inquiry into the incident,” he said in Bhubaneswar.
BJD youth wing general secretary Bijay Nayak said: “His contribution to strengthening the party in western Odisha was immense.”
Senior Congress leader from Balangir Narasingh Mishra hinted that Sahu might have been the victim of a political conspiracy. “Political violence in Balangir has gone up. A CBI inquiry should be ordered into the incident.”
State unit BJP president K.V. Singh Deo, who hails from Balangir, said: “Law and order is the chief minister’s responsibility. I wonder if he is taking care of his department properly.”
Balangir MLA and BJD leader A.U. Singh Deo condemned the killing.