Pradeep Pattanayak

Stray incidents of violence marked the second phase of three-tier Panchayat elections in the State which ended at 1 pm on Friday.

While a booth rigging incident was reported from Jajpur district, people scuffled with police in Bargarh district, once again raising questions over the security arrangements for the crucial rural body polls.

Earlier in the day, polling at booth no-VIII in Madhupur village of Kanikapada Panchayat under Dasarathapur Block in Jajpur district was going on smoothly. Out of the 572 voters, 382 had exercised their voters. However, towards the closing hours, some miscreants forced their entry into the booth when some women were casting their votes.

Before anyone could figure out their motive, the miscreants allegedly snatched the ballot papers way from the presiding officer present in the booth and stamped on a particular symbol. It was also alleged that they even tore up some ballot papers. The entire incident was captured in the mobile phones of some onlookers at the booth.  

Earlier, polling at booth no-II and III in the same Kanikapada Panchayat was disrupted after miscreants allegedly tore up ballot papers before fleeing with some of them.

The police-public face off was reported from Kathaumal under Gaisilet police limits in Bargarh district. Misunderstanding is said to be the reason leading to the tension. 

Around 1 pm voting was underway at the booth in Kathaumal village. Just then, a mobile team of policemen entered the booth to carry out an inspection. People who were present at the booth opposed entry of the policemen, leading to a verbal duel. Soon, the duel snowballed into a scuffle with the angry people attacking the men in khaki. The police resorted to mild lathi charge in order to bring the situation under control.