Statesman News Service
Bolangir, 14 July
In a ghastly incident, five members of a single family were murdered by an opponent group at Thappapali village in Bolangir district today. The victims have been identified as Ramesh Thappa and his four sons~ Madrashi, Jagadish, Kunu  and Kapila.
Land dispute was initially suspected behind the animosity between the two neighbouring families~ the Thappas and the Majhis~ and today&’s brutal attack. However, it was later found out that the attack had a political angle as the families have  nurtured a grouse against each other following a murder on the eve of last panchayat elections, which  took an ugly turn today.
Police have arrested four members of the Majhi family, all of whom have  severely injured in the clash.
“We have arrested Mr Biswajit Majhi, Sadashib Majhi, Sankheswar Majhi and Kandha Majhi for their alleged involvement in the clash,” said IIC of Bolangir Sadar police station, Mr Deepak Jena. The four were first rushed to the district hospital, and two of them were  shifted to VSS medical college and hospital at Burla when their condition deteriorated.
A local villager, who did not wish to be named, informed that the Thappa family first attacked the Majhi family and injured its four members this morning.
“When the four Majhi family members were injured and screamed for help, some of their relatives rushed to the spot and launched a counter-attack on the Thappa family. The five Thappa family members were killed in the retaliatory attack,” he said.
Axe, spade and other sharp edged weapons were allegedly used in the attack.
When police reached the spot, the five members of the Thappa family had succumbed while the four members of the Majhi family were battling for their lives. At least eight relatives of the Majhi family, who were suspected to have launched the counter attack on Thappa family, had fled the crime spot by then. IIC Mr Jena said they were searching the accused members of the Majhi family. Police have sent the bodies for post mortem.
According to sources, Madrashi Thappa was accused of killing Ekadashi Majhi, the son of injured Sankheswar Majhi during the last panchayat elections. He had come out of the jail on bail bond only a week ago. “Incidentally, Madrashi Thappa led the attack on the Majhi family this morning. However, as the fate had it otherwise, Madrashi, his father and three brothers were killed,” said a source.