Berhampur, Odisha: A former Communist Party of India (CPI) legislator, Nagireddy Narayan Reddy, along with 12 other individuals, has been handed a life imprisonment sentence by an Odisha court for the death of a police inspector during a protest in 1998. The incident took place during an agitation against land acquisition for a proposed Tata Steel plant, resulting in the tragic demise of Reserve Inspector Binay Meher, who was only 35 years old at the time.
The agitation, opposing the acquisition of nearly 7,000 acres of land for the shore-based mega steel plant, had started in February 1996 in villages such as Sindhigaon, Badapaur, Patrapur, Kalipalli, and Paikapada. On June 18, 1998, Inspector Binay Meher was deputed to Sindhigaon village to monitor possible law and order issues arising from the protest.
While communicating with his team of police officials, a bomb was hurled at Inspector Meher, causing a devastating blast that fatally wounded him. Rushed to the hospital, he tragically succumbed to his injuries en route. In total, 22 individuals, including Nagireddy Narayan Reddy, were listed as accused, all charged with murder under Section 302 of the Indian Penal Code (IPC).
The verdict was pronounced by Berhampur’s additional district and sessions judge, Rajkumar Dash. The court held Reddy and the others responsible for the fatal attack on the police officer, leading to their conviction and sentencing to life imprisonment.
Inspector Meher, who was on the verge of a transfer, had chosen to stay back at the request of Ganjam’s superintendent of police. Unfortunately, this decision proved fatal, and his family had to endure the loss of a dedicated officer who had devoted his life to public service.
Following the sentencing, Nagireddy Narayan Reddy expressed dissatisfaction with the judgment, alleging that it was influenced by the government. He stated that justice was not served for the farmers and the public and conveyed his intention to appeal the verdict in the higher court.
The case has brought to light the tragic consequences of violence during protests and underscores the importance of maintaining law and order during such agitations. As the families of the deceased continue to seek justice, the incident serves as a reminder of the need for responsible and peaceful demonstrations to resolve disputes and address public grievances.
Sources By Agencies