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Congress is set to hold an agitation across Odisha tomorrow over the sensational gangrape and murder of a dalit widow in Dhenkanal district and to demand assistance to the woman's family and trial of the case in a fast track court. Party workers will stage demonstrations across the state against worsening law and order situation in the state where woman are not safe, said Odisha Pradesh Congress Committee President Prasad Harichandan. Coming down heavily on the BJD regime over the rape and murder of a 45-year-old woman in Kankadahada area of Dhenkanal district, he said the incident was as barbaric as the horrific Nirbhaya episode of Delhi, but Odisha government failed to handle it seriously. Though four persons have been arrested in connection with the June 12 incident, it has exposed the failure of the Naveen Patnaik government to ensure safety and security of women and give them justice, he said and accused the police of being soft on the accused. The accused were not booked under relevant sections of SC and ST (Prevention of Atrocities) Act and though there are two ministers from the area, none has so far visited the village where the incident took place, the Congress leaders said. Asking the state government to provide help to the woman's family, the Congress has demanded an assistance of Rs 20 lakh to the affected family and trial of the case in a special fast track court. President of the state Congress women's wing, Sasmita Behera, who had led a party team to the village where the brutal incident had taken place, lashed out at the state government for not providing any financial assistance to the kin of the deceased. As part of the agitation tomorrow, demonstrations will be held at the district headquarters of the state and other places by the party's women's wing and ST-SC cell. BJP too has raised questions about the investigation that was conducted in the case by the police.
BJP women wing president Prabhati Parida, who also visited the village, alleged the case was not probed in "a proper and serious manner" and some more people are suspected to have been involved in the crime. The BJP leader demanded that trial of the case be held in a fast track court.