Puri triple murder: 6 arrested, Patnaik says no law and order issues

Odisha Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik Tuesday rejected opposition's claim that 'jungle raj' prevailed in the state, saying there was no law-and-order issues and hailed the police force for its action in the Puri triple murder case.

Patnaik's comments came after Speaker S N Patro, earlier in the day, urged the chief minister to make a statement in the assembly in view of the opposition claim that 'jungle raj' prevailed in the state.

"The law and order situation in the state has largely remained peaceful," Patnaik said in a statement in the assembly.

The opposition BJP and the Congress had stalled proceedings of the House on Monday, demanding a statement from Patnaik on the law and order situation, a day after three members of a family were hacked to death by assailants on the Puri-Bhubaneswar main road.

The victims, all in their 30s, were chased and hacked to death on Sunday near a police camp here, which was set up on the occasion of Rath Yatra, he said.

Initial investigation suggests the incident was fallout of a long-standing dispute over land ownership, Director General of Police (DGP) R P Sharma told PTI.

Six people were arrested on Tuesday in connection with the case.

The opposition had also alleged that a tribal minor girl was raped in Puri during the Rath Jatra festival before Sunday's murder incident.

Patnaik termed the triple murder as "unfortunate" and said police had taken prompt action by arresting the six main accused persons.

"Vigorous efforts are being made to arrest the other absconding persons. Adequate force has been deployed in the area to maintain order and give protection to the families of the victims," he said.

Patnaik added that prima facie, the incident appears to have taken place due to a long-standing land dispute.

Referring to another opposition allegation that police inaction led to anarchy in some parts of the state, he said, "The police has been taking prompt action in all reported heinous offences, including the arrest of accused persons. Special drives are being conducted regularly against criminals indulging in organised crimes.

"My government is fully committed to protect the life and property of all citizens and ensure maintenance of law and order in the state."

The chief minister also said there has been a significant improvement in the LWE scenario in Odisha.

"The simultaneous (Lok Sabha and assembly) elections were conducted peacefully, due to proper security arrangements," he asserted.

When cyclone Fani had hit the state, police "not only successfully maintained law and order in the affected areas, but also assisted in relief and restoration activities", Patnaik said.