Bhubaneswar/Bhawanipatna: The Odisha police on Tuesday exhumed the half-burnt mutilated body of a woman, suspected to be that of a 24-year-old teacher missing since October 8, from the playground of a school in Odisha’s Kalahandi district where she used to work, an official said.
The president of the private school’s managing committee, the prime accused in the case was also arrested from Bolangir district during the day. He had escaped on Sunday night from Titlagarh police barrack in the district, where he was kept in detention in connection with “abduction” of the teacher.
Alleging that the accused is a close aide of Minister of State for Home D S Mishra, the opposition BJP and Congress demanded his resignation and a CBI probe into the incident. The ruling BJD said the law will take its own course.
A police official said the half-burnt and mutilated body of a woman was exhumed from 10 feet deep into the playground of the school.
While the police were yet to confirm the identity of the body, the teacher’s family members claimed that it was hers.
Her bag and ornaments like anklets were recovered from the pit from where the body was recovered. From the size of the body also, we can say it is of my niece, the victim’s uncle said.
The police, however, said the identification of the body would be confirmed only after a DNA test.
The police did not reveal how they came to know about the place where the body was buried.
Around two hours after the body was found, the key accused was picked up from a village under Bangomunda block of Bolangir district, Superintendent of Police Kauslkar Nitin Dagudu said.
The accused, who also runs a college, was brought to the SP’s office and is being questioned, police sources said.
Earlier in the day, Bolangir Police had announced him as a “most wanted” person and a Rs 1 lakh reward for information leading to his arrest. The initial bounty was Rs 20,000 and it was increased later.
The family members of the teacher who also served as the warden of the school’s girls hostel lodged a complaint with the police on October 13, five days after she had gone missing.
They suspected that the school’s managing committee president had kidnapped her as, they claimed, she was last seen with him on October 8.
We had gone to lodge a complaint to the police station on October 9, but the police refused to accept it saying she should be somewhere, her uncle said.
He claimed that the prime accused is very close to minister D S Mishra who often visits his school.
Meanwhile, the BJP and Congress demanded the resignation of the minister after a purported video of Mishra praising the accused at a recent function held at the school went viral.
It was alleged that the accused managed to escape from the police barrack due to his political influence and proximity to the minister of state for home.
Congress and BJP activists staged demonstrations in Bhubaneswar and Bhawanipatna, headquarters of Kalahandi district, demanding Mishra’s resignation.
A group of people belonging to the Congress’ student wing also hurled rotten eggs at the official residence of the minister in the state capital.
BJP state president Samir Mohanty demanded that the minister should step down on moral ground as the incident took place in his constituency and the prime accused was close to him because of which he could manage to escape from police custody.
The accused was detained in the police barrack since October 14 in the kidnapping case. He had been booked under Section 366 of the IPC (kidnapping a woman to compel her to marry or to cause her defilement).
In a letter to Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik, Leader of the Opposition P K Naik of the BJP demanded CBI probe into the case and resignation of Mishra on moral ground to pave the way for a neutral enquiry.
Only a CBI probe can clear doubt in minds of people on alleged physical exploitation of girl students of the school and college run by the accused in Kalahandi district, he said.
Congress MLA from Kantabanji in Bolangir district S S Saluja said the minister must resign or the chief minister should dismiss him in order to pave way for a neutral investigation into the case.
The ruling BJD said the guilty should be punished as per the law of the land.
BJD spokesperson Lenin Mohanty criticised the BJP and the Congress accusing them of politicising a sensitive criminal case.
The opposition should desist from making such political allegations and focus on giving justice to the victim’s family, he said.
After reports of the incident began circulating on the news and social media, Twitter went abuzz with a Netizens spamming the micro blogging website demanding #JusticeForMamitaMeher , the teacher.
Further, protests broke out as people took their demands for justice to the streets.
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