A high-level BJP delegation comprising Union Minister Bisheswar Tudu and several party MPs and MLAs was on Tuesday detained after being prevented from entering violence-hit Sambalpur city.
The team members were intercepted at Sripura Chhak on Jharsuguda-Sambalpur road and denied permission to move further. Later, they were taken to a nearby Thelkoli police station and detained.
Sambalpur Additional Superintendent of Police Tapan Kumar Mohanty said: "The BJP delegation was denied permission to enter the city because they were not abiding by the provision under section 144 of CrPC. They cannot be allowed entry into the city at a time when curfew is in force." The team comprised Union Minister of State for Jal Shakti and Tribal Affairs Bisheswar Tudu, MPs Jual Oram (Sundergarh) and Suresh Pujari (Bargarh), MLAs Nauri Nayak, Shankar Oram and Kusum Tete, state BJP president Manmohan Samal and Sameer Mohanty.
"I strongly condemn the Odisha government for preventing a Union Minister's visit to Sambalpur where a tribal youth was killed during violence. As the country's Tribal Affairs minister and myself also a tribal, it is my duty to meet the family members of the deceased tribal youth. However, I was stopped in the mid-way by police," Tudu told reporters at Sripura Chhak where the team was intercepted by police.
Stating that he will raise the issue with the Central government, Tudu said "It is unfortunate that the Sambalpur district administration stopped me and my colleagues to enter the city. They (administration) were given prior information regarding our visit." Sundergarh MP Jual Oram, said: "It is unfortunate that the police stopped the delegation comprising BJP MPs and MLAs. We have been denied entry into the city while the rioters are moving freely." Bargarh MP Suresh Pujari also came down heavily on the state government. "They prevented us fearing exposure of the police inefficiencies. The police have failed to arrest the killers of a tribal youth during the violence. The district collector of Sambalpur has been acting beyond her power." Earlier, Pujari alleged that he was also not allowed to come out of his residence at Sakhipada. "I will raise the matter in Parliament," Pujari said.
BJP Odisha unit president Manmohan Samal, who is also a member of the delegation alleged that "the CM is fearing the BJP leaders as they might expose the inefficiencies in handling of the largescale violence in Sambalpur."
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