BARIPADA: Tension flared up in Rashgovindpur after the body of a local youth, who had been opposing illegal sand mining in the area, was found on the bed of Jambhira river on Thursday morning. The deceased 32-year-old Mantu Tarei of Susumari village was a social activist and spearheading protests against illegal sand mining on Jambhira river bed.
Villagers, who had gone to attend nature’s call early in the morning, spotted Mantu’s body lying on the river bed with multiple injury marks and informed his family members. Brother Pintu Tarei alleged that Mantu was murdered by sand mafia. "My brother had gone to the river bed on Wednesday night to stop the smugglers who were illegally lifting sand. The mafia crushed him to death under a JCB machine as his body bore several grievous injuries," he alleged.
Locals said that due to movement of heavy sand loading vehicles, the village road had been damaged to such an extent that it was no more usable. Schoolchildren and emergency vehicles faced a lot of difficulties to commute due to the bad road condition.
"Protesting the illegal sand lifting from the area, Mantu had warned the smugglers to stop their illegal activities. The sand mafia were nursing a grudge against Mantu and killed him in the night," the villagers alleged.
Irate villagers blocked Rashgovindpur-Baripada road at Musamari Chowk with Mantu's body demanding immediate arrest of the killers. Vehicular movement on the important route came to a standstill for more than five hours due to the blockade.
Rashgovindpur IIC and Additional Tehsildar rushed to the spot and assured the agitators of conducting a proper inquiry into Mantu’s death following which the blockade was lifted. IIC KC Palei said a case has been registered. The reason behind Mantu’s death will be ascertained after the postmortem report. “We are investigating the case from all angles,” he added.