BHUBANESWAR: Even as Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik claimed that the law and order situation was normal in Odisha during the year, Opposition Congress and BJP came down heavily on the State Government for increase in crime rate.
Initiating the discussion for debate on the demand for grants of Home and General Administration Departments, Leader of Opposition Narasingh Mishra alleged that major crime has increased in Odisha and the Government is trying to hide the figures by not giving the comparative statements of different years in the White Paper released by it.
Alleging that murder, dacoity and Maoist activities have increased, Mishra said according to the White Paper, six rape cases per day were registered by police in 2016.
Criticising the BJD for resorting to large scale pre and post-panchayat poll violence, Mishra gave example of several instances where police were used to win election by the ruling party. He referred to the gang rape of a minor in Chikiti Assembly constituency where the victim has alleged that she was targeted by her cousins who belong to BJD. The father of the rape victim is a Congress leader of the area, he said.
He gave examples of several instances in Simulia, Bhadrak, Balangir, Koraput and Jeypore where police were used by the ruling party to threaten opposition during the polls.
Mishra criticised the Government for not taking any step for setting up the Lokayukta even though the Bill received Presidential assent on January 15, 2015. He said the post of Lokpal has also not been filled up for the last two years after death of justice PK Patra. Lokpal was the police complaint authority, Mishra said and added that this forum has been closed.
He also referred to the vacancy in post of chairman of Odisha Human Rights Commission (OHRC) where one judicial member is functioning now. Mishra said though he has written several letters in these regards to the CM, there has been no response.
Alleging that the crime rate has gone up, Leader of BJP legislature party KV Singhdeo said the Government failed to maintain communal harmony during the year. The State Government has also failed to improve the police:public ratio, he said and added that funds under police modernisation were used to only purchase vehicles and construct buildings without purchase of arms and ammunition.