Odisha Health and Family Welfare Minister Naba Kishore Das died after battling bullet injuries for several hours after being shot at by a policeman, Apollo Hospital officials said.
A team of doctors operated on him after he was airlifted from Jharsugada to Bhubaneswar, hospital officials said.
Das, who was 60, was shot in the chest at Brajrajnagar town around 1 pm when he was on his way to attend a programme in Jharsuguda district.
“On operating (it) was found that a single bullet had entered and exited the body, injuring the heart and left lung, and causing massive internal bleeding and injury. The injuries were repaired, and steps were taken to improve the pumping of the heart. He was given urgent ICU care. But, despite best of efforts, he could not be revived and (he) succumbed to his injuries,” the hospital said in a statement.
In a statement, Odisha Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik, who was believed to be close to Das, said, “I am shocked and distressed over the very unfortunate demise of Minister Naba Kishore Das.” Patnaik described Das as a “grass root person” and said he was “loved and respected by all, cutting across parties and sections of people.”
Prime Minister Narendra Modi also expressed grief saying, “Saddened by the unfortunate demise of Minister in Odisha Government, Shri Naba Kishore Das Ji. Condolences to his family in this tragic hour. Om Shanti.”
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“Assistant sub-inspector of police (ASI) Gopal Das opened fire at the minister, who suffered bullet injuries,” Brajrajnagar SDPO Gupteswar Bhoi told reporters. The ASI, who is believed to be suffering from mental disorder, is being interrogated, and more details will be available after a thorough probe, the SDPO said.
In a video footage, Naba Kishore Das was seen bleeding from the chest with people trying to lift him, who seemed unconscious, and place him on the front seat of a car.
The minister, a strongman in the mining hub of Jharsuguda, had switched over to the BJD from the Congress ahead of 2019 elections. He was known to have business interests in coal mining, transportation and hospitality sectors.
Odisha’s Health and Family Welfare Minister Naba Kishore Das died of bullet injuries after an assistant sub-inspector (ASI) of police shot at him on chest in Jharsuguda district on Sunday.
The minister was airlifted to Bhubaneswar in an air ambulance and admitted to Apollo Hospital, Bhubaneswar. A team of doctors operated on him, the hospital said.
“The injuries were repaired, and steps were taken to improve the pumping of the heart. He was given urgent ICU care. But, despite best of efforts, he could not be revived and succumbed to his injuries,” it said in a statement.
The minister was shot at in Brajrajnagar town around 1 pm when he was on his way to attend a programme in the district and had alighted from the car to greet people.
“Assistant Sub-inspector of Police (ASI) Gopal Das opened fire at the minister, who sustained bullet injuries,” Brajrajnagar SDPO Gupteswar Bhoi told reporters.
The accused ASI was nabbed by locals, who then handed him over to the police, he said.
Condemning the incident, Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik said that the crime branch has been directed to take up the investigation of the case.
“I am shocked at the unfortunate incident of attack on honourable minister Naba Das. I strongly condemn the attack on him. I pray for his early recovery. Senior officers of crime branch have been asked to go to the spot,” Patnaik said in a statement.
Tension prevailed in Brajrajnagar in the wake of the incident, with supporters of the BJD minister questioning “security lapses”.
Some of them claimed that a conspiracy was hatched to target him.
The minister, a strongman in the mining hub of Jharsuguda, had switched over to the BJD from the Congress ahead of 2019 elections. He is known to have business interests in coal mining, transportation and hospitality sectors.
Bhoi said that the ASI was currently being interrogated, and more details will be available after a thorough probe.
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