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Suryakant Jena

Puri: Badasankha area in the pilgrim city on Wednesday witnessed uproarious scenes as shopkeepers scuffled with police after some cops reportedly thrashed a fruit seller and a local newsman.  

A team of Kumbharpada Police enforcing Covid guidelines in the pilgrim city witnessed some shopkeepers sitting near Badasankha and cautioned them to immediately close the outlets. 

However, a heated argument ensued between them when some cops reportedly thrashed a fruit seller for flouting Covid rules. The shopkeepers also alleged that the cops misbehaved and physically assaulted a local news reporter who reached the spot to cover the news.

The situation turned so severe that the shopkeepers staged a dharna on the road near the spot protesting the police action against them. 

Despite govt's relaxation for selling of essential commodities between 7 am and 11 am, a team of Kumbharpara Police thrashed a makeshift shopkeeper for several minutes even when he was pleading innocence and praying for mercy, said the relative of a shopkeeper who was injured in police action

The news reporter named Dattatreya Nayak alleged, "As many as 6 to 7 home guards were beating a fruit seller when I requested the cops to show him mercy. Bichitrananda Sethi, IIC, and other police officials refused to listen to me even though I confirmed my identity. Some of them dragged me towards a corner and kicked me on the ground."

Meanwhile, when queried by the reporters, Puri SP informed that a probe has been ordered into both incidents. Puri Additional SP has started an investigation on the spot after interrogating some locals and agitating shopkeepers.

ASP Mihir Panda has assured that a detailed report will be submitted before the SP after a thorough probe into the incidents.

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