Bhubaneswar: A day after the BJP accused the BJD of conspiring to foil the meeting in Paradip on February 7 where Prime Minister Narendra Modi dedicated the IOCL refinery to the nation, an exclusive video footage obtained by OTV today shows Niali BJD MLA Pramod Mallick being forced to walk wearing a saffron cap and uttariya (scarf), part of the BJP attire, by an irate mob of saffron workers wielding lathis.
The footage shows Mallick being forced to walk along the road with the saffron cap on his head and a scarf on his shoulders by the irate mob with sticks and BJP flags in their hands.
Mallick has alleged that some BJP activists blocked his vehicle while he was on the way to Paradip to attend the meeting. “After damaging his vehicle, they forced me to wear the BJP cap and scarf and asked me to chant BJP slogans. When I refused to oblige, they thrashed me and made him walk on the road,” he said.
“I am fortunate that my life was saved by my personal security guard,” Mallick said.
Asked about the case lodged against him by the IIC of Tirtol police station for ransacking the police station, Mallick said he, along with the Zilla Parishad member, had gone to the police station to lodge a complaint about his manhandling.
“At that time, there was no one except one havildar at the police station. Suddenly, some people barged into the police station and ransacked it. The IIC deliberately registered a complaint against me with the help of some locals to save himself,” he claimed.
Asked about the video footage, BJP state vice president Prithviraj Harichandan said the BJD leaders started the trouble.
“The Prime Minister came to Odisha to inaugurate the mega refinery project which would open a new vista in the socio-economic development of Odisha. It was expected that the people of Odisha would extend hospitality to the Prime Minister. But the ruling party leaders forgot basic manners and etiquette and indulged in vandalism to foil the meeting to be in their party supremo’s good book. Some of these leaders, including Debasis Samantaray, Pravat Biswal and Pramod Mallick, started blocking the road in the midnight on February six and damaged more than 15 vehicles and attacked more than 50 people in an attempt to stop them from attending the meeting,” Harichandan said.
Asked if the BJD leaders were involved in the incident, how come the video footage clearly showed that the BJP members were also involved in the act, Harichandan said while OTV showed this video footage of Mallick, other TV channels showed footage in which the Niali MLA is seen moving with his party men carrying a stick on his hand.
“After being harassed by BJD leaders, thousands of people turned violent. You cannot control the mob if you bring them to a boiling point. This is what has happened with Mallick. After blocking the roads in two places, he was on his way to stage another blockade when he faced the mob fury,” he pointed out.
He further said both Debasis and Pramod are the people’s representatives. It is their responsibility to check the misdeeds of the people. They should have made arrangements to enable the people to attend the meeting.
“We want to know whether these BJD leaders were directed by their high command to create trouble or they had decided to create vandalism on their own?” he asked.
“If no action is taken against these ruling leaders, it will be understood that the BJD and the government had stage-managed the vandalism to foil the meeting, he added.
“The goondagiri of BJD MLA Debasis Samantray in the ransacking of Tirtol police station has been established. Besides, it has already been established the manner in which minister Pranab Prakash Das was breaking the barricades at the meeting. Let the BJD supremo take action against his two party leaders,” BJP spokesperson Sajan Sharma told media persons here.
Refuting the allegation of Sharma, BJD spokesperson Pratap Deb said the manner in which the BJP activists had forced the Niali MLA to walk by putting the BJP cap on his head and uttariya (scarf) on his shoulder, speaks volume of the their weak mindset. The BJP should beg apology for its unsavoury behaviour, he said.
He said if the BJP wants to come to power, it should refrain from such audacious behavour and try to win the confidence of the people.
Replying to the allegation of the BJP that the BJD had brought its supporters to the meeting place in the National Health Mission (NHM) vehicles, Deb said the Health department, as a preventive measure, had sent NHM ambulance vans to the meeting place to provide first aid to the people.
“The allegation of the BJP that that the BJD supporters were brought to the meeting place in these vans, is absolutely false and baseless,” he claimed.