CUTTACK: PRE-POLL violence continued unabated at Podana village under Kapasi gram panchayat (GP) in Niali block of the district with BJD workers torching eight Congress workers’ houses, including the house of former MLA Rabindra Mallik on Thursday over the alleged murder of a party activist.
Sources said Surendra Nayak (54), a supporter of the ruling BJD of the village, succumbed to injuries at the SCB Medical College and Hospital on Tuesday morning after he was attacked allegedly by the activists of Congress.
Nayak was returning home at about 10.30 pm when Rabindra and his supporters attacked him. Later, Nayak was admitted to SCBMCH where he succumbed. Irate BJD workers had torched four cars, a bike, three bicycles belonging to Rabindra and his supporters on Monday night. They had also set a private school and 10 straw heaps belonging to Congress workers on fire. On Tuesday, Niali police had conducted a flag march and deployed two platoons of police forces in the village to prevent any untoward incident.
The administration withdrew the forces from the village on Wednesday night. Taking advantage of the absence of police, more than 30 BJD workers on Thursday torched the houses of Congress workers, including Rabindra, former sarpanch Banu Mallik, Chinmayee Mallik, Biranchi Narayan Mallik, Durga Madhab Mallik, Gokul Charan Mallik and Dhunu Barik.
The BJD activists barged into their houses and ransacked valuables. Later, they dragged women, girls and children from their houses and set their houses on fire. Property worth more than one crore has been turned into ashes, sources said.
Though the incident occurred at 11.30 am, police went to the village at 1.30 pm, after which two firefighting teams were pressed into service to bring the fire under control. Senior police officials, including Cuttack Additional SP NC Swain, are camping at the village. Police forces have also been deployed.