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Canadian National Abduction: BJP Dubs It ‘Diverting Public Attention’ From State’s Serious Issues, Demands CM’s Statement In Assembly


28 March 2017

Soumya Ranjan Sahoo


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Bhubaneswar: The suspected abduction of a Canadian national allegedly by Maoists in Odisha’s Koraput district echoed in the ongoing Budget Session of Assembly on Tuesday as ruling BJD’s bête noire smelt something fishy behind such a report dubbing it a ploy by the State Government to divert public attention from the State’s serious issues whenever being discussed in House putting the treasury bench in a tight spot.

BJP legislature party leader K.V. Singhdeo on the day sought a statement from Chief Minister Naaveen Patnaik to clear air on the incident as the External Affairs Minister had already talked to him and sought a report.

Talking to media, Singhdeo said, “As per the media reports, one Canadian national named John has been abducted by Maoists yesterday (Monday, March 27). Union External Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj has yesterday already talked to the Chief Minister in this regard. State Government has already issued a travel advisory for the movements of the foreign tourists in the State to seek prior permission before venturing out on tours. Basing on that, I sought a statement from the Chief Minister in the House about the Canadian national’s latest status and whereabouts. The House wanted to be informed whether he has been kidnapped by the Maoists or by somebody else.”

“The more important thing to note here is the incident that has happened at a juncture when serious issues concerning the State’s interests crop up in the Assembly for discussion. Precedence galore like this, as earlier foreign tourists got abducted or a Collector, just to divert the public attention from the burning issues of the State meant for serious discussions in the House. The State Government has already resorted to such gimmicks previously. Hence, I sought the Chief Minister’s statement in the House in order to make it sure if it was really an abduction or just a bid to divert public attention,” Singhdeo remarked.

Congress chief whip Tara Prasad Bahinipati told media, “Whenever a foreign tourist visits a district in Odisha should intimate the concerned Collector and SP and seek permission as per the advisory issued. In this case if it is not, it’s unfortunate. Stringent action should also be initiated against the middlemen those who pave the path of visit for the foreign tourists.”

BJD spokesperson Amar Prasad Satpathy countered, “Government never scripts drama. Investigation is going on. Such incidents are not only limited to Odisha, elsewhere also in India. Whatever report comes out of the investigation will definitely be apprised to the House. There is no link with the so-called BJD internal wrangling. Maoist activities are not limited to Odisha. It’s also reported in other States.”

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K.V. Singhdeo, BJP Legislature Party Leader, Odisha Assembly

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Tara Prasad Bahinipati, Congress Chief Whip, Odisha Assembly

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Amar Prasad Satpathy, Spokesperson, BJD, Odisha