Odisha BJD MLA faces arrest for forcing official to do sit-ups

The wife of an Odisha government official has lodged a police complaint against a newly-elected legislator of the ruling Biju Janata Dal, who forced her husband to do sit-ups as punishment over poor roads in Bolangir district.

Several hours after the video of the incident went viral, the wife of public works department’s junior engineer Jasbant Sabar lodged an FIR at the Patnagarh police station against Saroj Meher, an MLA from Patnagarh.

In her complaint on Thursday evening, she demanded Meher’s arrest. The tribal official’s wife alleged that on June 5 Meher and his party’s workers came to their official resident and forced her husband to follow them.

“Under the MLA’s orders, some villagers thrashed my husband. The MLA also hurled abuses and casteist remarks. My husband seems to have lost his mental balance. He hasn’t come home since yesterday,” the official’s wife said.

“I suspect that the MLA might have done some harm to my husband,” she alleged.

The video purportedly shows Meher asking Sabar to do sit-ups in front of hundreds of people at Gambhari village in Belpada area of the district.

First-time MLA Meher went to Patnagarh two days ago when locals of Belpada complained about bad roads in the area and blamed the authorities. Following the complaints, Meher on Wednesday summoned Sabar and asked him to do 100 sit-ups.

“I am the MLA and this is my order. I am empowering the people to thrash you,” Meher is heard saying in the viral video.

Sabar started doing the sit-ups but when he requested the MLA to forgive him, Meher threatened him saying that the locals would beat him up if he refuses to follow through. The junior engineer then continued as people present on the spot kept watching.

The MLA, however, ‘regretted’ the episode saying he did it to save the official from the mob lynching him.

“There were a lot of complaints about sub-standard road construction in the area and I had gone to the site for an inspection. When I reached there, the locals were angry. The situation could have turned violent. Whatever I did was to save myself and the engineer from the fury of the villagers,” he said.

Bolangir’s district collector Arindam Dakua said he has asked the Patnagarh sub-collector to investigate the matter and submit a report as soon as possible.

Also read : Odisha MLA forces official to do sit-ups for poor roads; video goes viral

First Published: Jun 07, 2019 14:48 IST

Updated: June 7, 2019 — 3:52 pm