Bhubaneswar: Senior Congress leader and former MP Pradip Majhi on Thursday courted controversy as he was caught on camera directing party workers to "set afire everything immediately after getting directions" during the 12-hour strike called by the party in Nabarangpur district.
Majhis instructions to party workers during the strike called to protest police "inaction" in a minor rape and murder case at Nabarangpur was recorded in a video and was shown in local news channels.
The opposition Congress had called for a 12-hour shutdown in Nabarangpur on Thursday to protest police "inaction" in connection with the alleged gang rape and murder of a minor girl of the district on December 14.
"Keep petrol and diesel ready. The moment you get an instruction, set everything on fire. Well see what happens next," Majhi was shown saying in the video while talking to someone over the phone.
Majhi, however, said he has "no regret" over passing such an instruction to party workers.
"We have to adopt Netaji Subhas Chandra Bose policy when the government do not react over the rape and murder of innocent girls in this tribal-dominated district," Majhi told reporters.
He said "We can no more keep mum. First, a minor girl in Kundali was gang raped by jawans. Now, another minor girl was gang raped and murdered in Nabarangpur. This is too much."
Claiming that they have been forced to take the law into hands, the former lawmaker said: "Though 13 days have passed since rape and murder of the minor girl, the police has not been able to get post mortem report. What are the doctors, the Home department and the government doing?"
Replying a question, Majhi said: "As Gandhian principles are not helping to ensure justice for these poor girls in Odisha, we are bound to adopt the ideals of Subash Chandra Bose."
"I have no regret whatever I said over the phone. If I have to adopt violence to keep my mothers and sisters safe, I will not step back," the tribal Congress leader said.
Shops were closed and most of the vehicles were off the road during the strike called by the Congress in Nabarangpur. Protestersset a car on fire during the strike at Ambedkar Chhak in the town.
Nabarangpur BJD MP Ramesh Majhi criticised Majhis action and accused him of instigating violence. "Police are investigating the rape and murder case and post-mortem report will be available soon," Ramesh Majhi said.
BJP leader Jairam Pangi also condemned Pradip Majhis statement and accused the Congress leaders of instigating anarchy.