100 injured as Cong demonstrators clash with police

Bhubaneswar: Around 100 people including policemen were injured, as Congress workers protesting against the BJD government on Thursday tried to gherao the state Assembly.

The police resorted to batons when a water canon and teargas failed to disperse the Congress demonstrators near the Lower PMG close to the assembly building, police sources said.

The demonstrators fought a pitched battle for three hours trying to break a barricade and threw stones at the police, the sources said.

DGP Prakash Mishra claimed that nearly 60 policemen were injured in stone-throwing and violence by the rallyists but was unable to give the exact number of demonstrators who sustained injury.

The DGP said though the police was prepared to handle the situation, `organised hooliganism` was not expected from the demonstrators.

Congress leaders including Soumya Ranjan Patnaik, however, alleged that policemen jumped the barricade and beat up party workers as their meeting was in progress.

Hospital and Congress sources said that over 50 civilians were injured in the police action. Also among the injured were DCP Nitinjeet Singh, OPCC President Niranjan Patnaik and his senior party colleagues Soumya Ranjan Patnaik and Tara Prasad Bahinipati, police sources said.

The condition of two police personnel including a woman constable was serious, they said. The injured were admitted to the Capital Hospital and other private hospitals in the state capital.

Earlier, the demonstrators were addressed by Congress stalwarts including state in-charge Jagdish Tytler and OPCC President Niranjan Patnaik who dubbed the the BJD government as the most corrupt in Odisha.

The Congress leaders also raised the coal block allocation and fertiliser scarcity issues and held the chief minister responsible for irregularities.

Accusing the state government of depriving the poor of rice and wheat provided by the Centre, the Congress leaders alleged that the BJD government was providing only 25 kg per family against 35 kg given by the central government under various like Antyodaya Anna Yojana and for BPL people.

Denying the allegations, the chief minister said Congress was in the habit of making baseless charges though people knew about the scams in which the Congress-led UPA government was allegedly involved.

Slamming the Centre, the chief minister said UPA was yet to fulfil its promise of providing rice at Rs three a kg to those living below the poverty line.

Earlier, Leader of the Opposition Bhupinder Singh dubbed the BJD government as pro-industrialist which did little for farmers and poor people.

Describing BJD rule as a failure, Niranjan Patnaik said Odisha remained the poorest province as no development took place during the last 12 years and the people must oust the Naveen government.