Villagers protesting bridge on Kosei river clash with police; 24 injured

Keonjhar: Violent clashes erupted at Belabahali area near Anandpur town of the district today after hundreds of villagers protesting a proposed bridge on Kosei river confronted police, leaving 24 persons injured including 12 cops.

The villagers have been vehemently opposing the proposed bridge project as a part of the expansion of NH-215 and demanding its relocation. Several rounds of discussions in this regard have already taken place between the villagers and the administration. With no headway in sight, the villagers took to the streets again yesterday.

Clashes between the villagers and the policemen ensued this morning while the former were preparing for fresh protests. Irate agitators also torched a camp of a construction company. The SP rushed to the spot and 15 platoons of police force have been deployed on the spot. According to authorities, as many as 100 protestors have been arrested and the situation is now under control.

Demonstrations and dharnas have also been held by the residents in the last seven months demanding that the location of the bridge be shifted.

Talks were also held between locals and the administration on the issue but no concrete outcome had emerged yet.

The BDO of Anandpur, who was also injured in the clash was shifted to S.C.B. Medical College and Hospital in Cuttack after his condition started deteriorating.

Till the last report came in, police have arrested 63 women and 36 men in this case.