Bhubaneswar: The Mahatma Gandhi Road in front of the Odisha Legislative Assembly virtually turned into a battlefield for the second consecutive days on Friday as this time the activists of the Student Congress clashed with security personnel leaving many protestors injured and police entering into Congress Bhawan, the party’s state headquarters.
The violence took place during the NSUI’s “Bidhan Sabha Ghero” programme demanding removal and arrest of the Minister of State for Home, DS Mishra over the Kalahandi woman teacher’s kid nap and murder case. The incident came a day after BJP Yova Morach activists fighting with police in their bid to enter the Assembly.
The NSUI’s peaceful agitation suddenly turned violent when police chased away the activists marching towards the Assembly building leading to a scuffle. As the police stopped the agitators after they broke down the first barricade, hurled eggs and tomatoes. Police then resorted to lathi-large to disperse the gathering in which many protestors sustained injuries.
The situation further aggravated when a section of NSUI activists allegedly attempted to set a police van on fire, which was however, immediately doused by the personnel of the fire brigade present at the agitation site. Later police chased the activists who allegedly ran to Congress Bhavan for safety. The police was seen kicking the Congress Bhavan doors which was locked from inside.
An agitator, who was bleeding from the head, was also seen being carried to safety by policemen.
“We will soon identify the persons involved in setting the police van on fire through CCTV footages and legal action will be taken soon,” said DCP US Dash. The DCP however, said that he had no knowledge on police entering the Congress Bhavan.
Alleging police excess, several Congress activists sat on a dharna near Master Canteen Square and demanded stringent action against the erring cops.
Congress MLA Tara Prasad Bahinipati condemned the attack and termed it ‘police excesses at the behest of Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik’. “The MoS, Home has asked the police to assault the activists demanding his resignation,” Mr.Bahinipati said.
Unfazed over the incident, the state NSUI president Yashir Nawaz said that they will the agitation and again gherao the Assembly, seeking an answer from the government over the deteriorating law and order situation in the state.
Meanwhile, senior Congress leader and party’s media cell Chairman Ganeswar Behera strongly condemned the police action and demanded a judicial probe into the incident under which the police resorted to lathi charge on the peaceful agitation. “We also demand an unconditional apology from Police Commissioner,” Mr.Behera said.
Bhubaneswar DCP US Dash, however, said that the police resorted to lathi charge in order to prevent activists setting fire on the police van. “Safety of the House is our first priority,” he said, alleging that hundreds of activists threw eggs and tomatoes on police personnel.
Earlier on Thursday, BJP Yuva Morcha gheraoed the Assembly over the same issue and a scuffle with police left at least 15 ciops injured.
BJP General Secretary and Spokesperson Golak Mphapatra has condemned the police action and also its entry into the headquarter of a political party.
The ruling BD in a statement accused both the BJP and the Congress adopting violence while staging demonstration. The people of Odisha have rejected Congress for 21 years and they will again get discarded by the people in the ensuing panchayat polls, said BJD spokesperson Lenin Mohanty.