Ramakanta Biswas

A group of tourists from neighbouring Chhattisgarh were allegedly attacked inside Nandankanan Zoological Park (NZP) on the outskirts of Bhubaneswar.

Some staff of the zoo and locals reportedly attacked at least 26 visitors leaving five of them critically injured. 

As per sources, an alteration broke out near the ticket counter of the zoo on Sunday afternoon. 

The tourists from Chhattisgarh alleged that though they had bought tickets to visit all the safaris of the zoo, they were not allotted vehicles even after three hours of wait. 

When the tourists raised their voice against the delay, the zoo employees allegedly manhandled them. As tension escalated, the zoo workers reportedly called about 50 locals who thrashed the tourists. 

The attackers reportedly broke the steel rods installed near the safari counter and assaulted the tourists with it. 

Based on a complaint from the tourists, Nandankanan police detained some attackers. Further inquiry is underway.  

Meanwhile, Nandankanan deputy director Sanjeet Kumar has ordered a probe into the matter and asked the range security officer to submit a report based on the CCTV footage and statement of the security guards deployed at the spot.

"An investigation will be conducted based on the complaints from both sides. Necessary action will be taken after completion of the probe," Kumar said.