Vikash Sharma

The brutal assault on some tourists from Chhattisgarh, allegedly by some staff of a toll gate near Mundali in Cuttack district on Tuesday, has left the State shell-shocked. Several tourists were left injured after being brutally attacked with wooden planks and sticks.

The visuals of the brawl and assault are certainly very disturbing and at the same time raised questions on ‘Atithi Devo Bhava’ objective.

Will such incidents of attacks on tourists affect Odisha’s image and its tourism sector...? Such questions have now cropped up following the incident even though a probe has started.

As per reports, a brawl broke out between the tourists and the toll gate staff over the payment of fees for two buses from the neighbouring state. A total of 11 tourists and three toll gate staff have reportedly been injured in the brawl. Some women and children have also reportedly sustained injuries in the attack. So far, four persons have been detained in this connection.

Athagarh Sub-Collector, Hemant Swain said, “It is an unfortunate incident and everybody should condemn it. An investigation is going on and stern action will be taken against the guilty.”

Swain further informed that all the tourists have been kept in safe custody and efforts are on to send them in alternate transport buses.

Sources said that the toll gate employees had demanded Rs 1000 for the two buses to cross the toll gate.

“We were returning after visiting Nandankanan. The toll gate employees demanded Rs 1000 for two buses. When the bus owner said that fee is around Rs 200 each, the staff refused. Initially, there were a few staff and later more people arrived at the spot and started attacking us,” said an injured tourist.

It is not the first time that such an attack on tourists has been reported from Odisha. On May 22, 2022, a group of tourists from Raipur in Chhattisgarh were also allegedly attacked by the staff of Nandankanan Zoo at the tiger safari. Later, some persons were also arrested in connection with the incident.

  • Reported by:
  • Nilakantha Dora