Opposition BJP on Friday demanded an unconditional apology from Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik soon after a photograph of martyr Ajit Kumar Sahoo’s coffin, draped in a BJD flag, went viral on social media. The photograph was taken on Thursday and it was uploaded on Friday. Ajit Kumar Sahoo, a jawan of the 44 Rashtriya Rifles (RR) hailed from Dhenkanal district in Odisha. He was critically injured in an improvised explosive device (IED) blast in Jammu & Kashmir’s Pulwama district on June 17 and later succumbed to injuries while undergoing treatment at the hospital on June 18. “Let BJD president Naveen Patnaik tender unconditional apology for hurting sentiments of the people and the martyr’s family,” BJP Ex-Servicemen Cell State President Colonel B.K. Bastia told reporters here. “It is unfortunate that the martyr’s coffin was draped with a BJD flag instead of the Tricolour,” Mr. Bastia said. BJP national vice -president and former MP Baijayant Panda also demanded an apology from the ruling Party. “Very unfortunate, politicising the death of an Indian soldier by the ruling party in Odisha draping his coffin with their party flag instead of the Tricolour. ….,” Mr. Panda tweeted. “The BJD people offered floral tribute to the martyr near Khuntuni on the way to our village in Dhenkanal district. They covered the coffin with the BJD flag. The BJD flag was removed later. My brother was not working for any political party,” the martyr’s brother, Parameswar Sahoo, said. Odisha governor Ganeshi Lal and many other persons had paid tribute to the martyr as soon the body reached the Biju Patnaik International Airport late night on Wednesday. The coffin was then taken to Dhenkanal Mini Stadium and later to his native village Badasuanla where his mortal remains was consigned to flames. BJD spokesperson Sasmit Patra has, however, described the incident as unfortunate and condemnable. “Our Party has a lot of respect for the martyrs and we condemn the incident. Stringent action will be taken against those who are involved in this episode,” he said.
Caroline Wozniacki has become the first big name to crash out of the US Open after losing to world No.96 Romanian Irina-Camelia Begu, while Novak Djokovic demolished his first-round opponent in the men’s draw.Eighth seed Wozniacki crumbled in a 6-2, 6-2 defeat to Begu in which she registered just four winners all match.”I definitely felt like I couldn’t hit through her today and I couldn’t hit past her like I wanted to,” Wozniacki said, adding that she had been hampered by injury.”Hopefully it will get better quickly. It’s frustrating to have some injuries, but it happens to everyone. It’s just about moving on.”The defeat was the second time Wozniacki had lost in the first round of a Grand Slam tournament this season, after the same fate befell the Dane at Wimbledon last month.Another seed to fall was former French Open champion Francesca Schiavone, seeded 22nd, who lost 3-6, 4-6 to home favourite Sloane Stephens of the United States.Elsewhere, Serena Williams booked her place in the second round after a straight-sets victory in an all-American first-round match.The Olympic champion beat fellow Californian CoCo Vandeweghe, ranked 75th in the world, by a score of 6-1, 6-1 to set up a second-round match with Spain’s Maria Jose Martinez Sanchez, the world No. 108.Both players suffered in windy conditions, Williams said.”The match was so weird, the conditions were so tough, I couldn’t really play my game. She couldn’t really play her game,” she said in comments on the U.S. Open website.German sixth seed Angelique Kerber will face Venus Williams in the second round after easing her way past Britain’s Anne Keothavong 6-2, 6-0 in the first round.French Open finalist Sara Errani, the 10th seed, was made to fight in her match with Spanish world No. 98 Garbine Muguruza, but prevailed 6-3, 6-7(6), 6-1 and will next play Russia’s Vera Dushevina.Russian No.2 Maria Kirilenko, the 14th seed, swept past Chanelle Scheepers of South Africa with ease in a 6-2, 6-1 win. Her next opponent is Hungary’s Greta Arn.In the men’s draw, Djokovic’s first-round opponent Paolo Lorenzi of Italy offered little resistance as the world No.2 beat him 6-1, 6-0, 6-1. Djokovic next plays world No.112 Rogerio Dutra Silva of Brazil.Jo-Wilfried Tsonga, seeded fifth, went past Slovakia’s Karol Beck 6-3, 6-1, 7-6(2) to book a second round match with another Slovakian, Martin Klizan.Sixth seed Tomas Berdych also progressed in straight sets, but he faced a fight from unseeded Belgian David Goffin, who knocked Roger Federer out of the French Open in June, as Berdych won 7-5, 6-3, 6-3.The Czech’s next opponent is Estonia’s Jurgen Zopp, the world No.80.Tenth seed Juan Monaco of Argentina also progressed after a five-set struggle with Guillermo Garcia-Lopez of Spain, who staged a fightback in the third set, although Monaco recovered to win 6-3, 6-1, 4-6, 6-7(6), 7-6(3).advertisement