Rajashree Swain, Odisha female cricketer found hanging from a tree

Rajashree Swain, aged 22 was a promising all-rounder from the stable of Odisha Cricket and in unfortunate news is no more. Today, she was found hanging from a tree in the Gurudijhatia forest.

Rajashree Swain. PC: Twitter
Rajashree Swain. PC: Twitter

Coming under the scanner for her untimely demise are the Odisha Cricket Association and the coach of the women’s team, Pushpanjali Banerjee. She is originally from the Puri district. Previously, Mangalabag police had recovered her scooter and helmet. According to police, her phone was turned off near the woods, and then commenced a manhunt based on her last cell network position. Later, her body was discovered hanging from a tree in the deep forest within the police limits of Gurudijhatia. The young cricketer had gone missing for three days.

The Odisha Cricket Association (OCA) had already filed a missing person’s report with the Mangalabag police. The young cricketer was a member of a 25-person squad that attended a cricket training camp. She was apparently stressed as a result of her failure to make the final team and had been missing since January 11.

Described as a fun-loving and happy-going girl, her family rues that she would never do something like this and was certainly under unbearable pressure that compelled her to take an extreme step. Rajashree’s sister said to Odisha TV News (OTV), “The OCA and coach Banerjee are responsible for my sister’s death. We also suspect a bigger mystery in this. If she was under stress, she would have come home or killed herself somewhere else. Why did she choose such a dense forest? What was done to her that she could not bear”. The sister also added that she tried pacifying Rajashree when she called her at around 9 AM but she disconnected the call and then called up their mother and asked her to talk to Rajashree but what alerted her was how her phone was found switched off since then. When they tried contacting all her friends, the organisers and the hotel staff, everyone said that she had not returned to the hotel but the truth was something else.

Her demise has sent her family into grief and her native village of Bhuagaon has also been affected. A relative close to the family also chimed in saying that Rajashree has been playing cricket for the past 15 years since her childhood and was supposed to be a part of the team scheduled to play in Pondicherry and believes that Rajashree was deliberately excluded from, the final team that affected her.

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Her mother too has spoken up and said to OTV, “She had come to Cuttack for a selection camp. She was living at Palace Hotel. After 10 days of selection camp, she was intentionally excluded from the final team although she was the best player. She was under stress and had called up her sister. She informed me that she was not included in the team despite being an all-rounder.” The mother added that her daughter (Rajashree) was missing since then because the camp organizers did not keep them in the loop and when they were contacted, they said that Rajashree was missing. The police too are not telling anything after retrieving the scooter, the mother said sobbingly. The FIR copy, on the other hand, claims that Rajashree had requested permission to return home after not being selected from the squad. She had left the hotel room on her scooter after obtaining permission. Rajashree’s family members, on the other hand, reported that her possessions were still in the hotel.

The Inspector Rank Officer (IIC) of Gurudijhatia while speaking on this case to OTV said, “An investigation is on. We are looking into all angles as to why Rajashree chose this dense forest or if there is any other mystery behind her death. She had been missing since January 11. We tracked her based on her phone location. We are also going to interrogate the hotel staff and fellow players and many others to unearth the mystery behind the untimely demise of the young cricketer”.

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We extend our heartfelt condolences to the grief-stricken family. Hopefully, we find answers to this unsettling case and don’t see this happening again in the future.

I am a first year postgraduate student pursuing a MA in Media and Communication Studies at Christ University, Bengaluru. I am a podcaster, blogger and an avid cricket fan. When not glued to cricket matches, you can find me submerged in books and thinking about cricket all the time.

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