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Pre-poll violence rocks Odisha

Pre-poll violence rocks Odisha
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Bhubaneswar: A BJD candidate was arrested for allegedly assaulting an EC magistrate, while OPCC president Niranjan Patnaik and another BJD nominee were among 11 persons injured as a series of violence rocked Odisha on Sunday, officials said.

Bombs were also hurled at a BJP assembly candidate's car though none was injured, police said Monday.

The violence started around an hour before the campaign for the third phase of polls ended on Sunday afternoon.

Puri Collector cum District Election Officer J P Das alleged that sitting MLA and BJD's assembly candidate Pradeep Maharathy attacked the magistrate of an election flying squad at Pipili.

After receiving a complaint about the distribution of money and liquor in violation of the Model Code of Conduct, the EC teams reached Maharathy's farmhouse around 11.30 pm.

"As soon as we reached there, Pradeep Maharathy started hurling abuses and later attacked me and my team," claimed Rabinarayan Patra, the injured magistrate who is now admitted at the Capital Hospital here.

Assistant sub-inspector of Police Binay Kumar Das and driver of his car Deepak were also injured in the attack.

"Fearing danger to our lives, 15 of us who had gone for the investigation, fled the spot in one vehicle. The other car is still in the farmhouse," Patra said.

"I have suffered injuries on the waist and unable to walk," he said. An FIR was lodged following which Maharathy was questioned and later arrested, Puri SP Umashankar Dash said. In a post on the social media, Maharathy admitted there was altercation with the EC team but denied that he himself was involved in the attack.

The BJD leader alleged that the EC team member entered the farmhouse by breaking its lock at midnight.

Maharathy had to resign from the ministry in 2012 after being accused of shielding those accused in the Pipili gang rape and murder case. He again became a minister in 2014 but quit in January this year following his comment that the rape victim got justice after acquittal of two of the accused.

A 19-year-old Dalit girl was raped in Pipili in November, 2011 and died in June, 2012 after remaining in a semi-comatose state, sparking a state-wide furore.

In another incident, BJD candidate from Bhubaneswar (Central) Anant Narayan Jena was injured when a group of men hurled bombs at his car in Jharpada area in the city late on Sunday night.

Jena, former Bhubaneswar Mayor, has suffered injuries in his head and hands. He is admitted at the ICU in the Capital Hospital here.

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