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Express News Service

RAIPUR:  A day after an SUV ploughed into a religious procession killing one person in Jashpur, tension prevailed in the town as locals called total for a shut-down and resorted to chakka-jam on National Highway-43 on Saturday. 

A youth was killed and 17 others injured after the speeding vehicle rammed into a Dussehra gathering at Pathalgaon in the district. The district court on Saturday sent the two accused to 14-day judicial remand. Meanwhile, politicians begun turning up at Pathalgaon, further flaming the sensitive issue.

Jashpur SP Vijay Agrawal ruled out any brake failure of the SUV and refused to confirm whether the two accused – Bablu Vishwakarma (21) and Shishupal Sahu (26) from Singrauli (Madhya Pradesh) –  were drunk or under the influence of drugs. 

“More sections of the penal code might be added as the probe progresses. There are two FIRs lodged against the duo – one under IPC Sections 302 (punishment for murder) and 304 (culpable homicide), and the other related to Section 20(b) of NDPS Act (producing, possessing, selling, or uses cannabis),” said Agrawal. 

When the accused were nabbed, the SUV was found to be burning. Locals claimed that the two were smuggling ganja (cannabis) and set the vehicle on fire themselves to destroy evidence. An eye-witness, who said he was a member of the Samiti (committee) which had organised the procession, alleged that the police allowed the SUV to pass even though it was suspected to be carrying ganja.

Baghel sets new benchmark for compensation

Chief Minister Bhupesh Baghel’s impromptu announcement of Rs 50 lakh compensation to the family of each farmer killed at Lakhimpur Kheri (Uttar Pradesh) seems to have put him at the receiving end back home.  

Such a declaration by the chief minister has apparently become a benchmark on compensation in Chhattisgarh. Now, there are several voices rising in the state demanding similar compensation for incidents in the recent past.

Succumbing to the pressure of BJP, Baghel had to announce Rs 50 lakh ex-gratia to the kin of the youth killed at Pathalgaon. Amit Jogi, chief of regional outfit Janta Congress Chhattisgarh, said three villagers killed in Sukma police firing too should be given similar compensation

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