Sharmili Mallick

A scuffle broke out between the members of the Bhadrak district unit BJP and police personnel outside the Collectorate while protesting over the non-reservation of seats for Other Backward Classes (OBCs) in the forthcoming Panchayat elections in the State, on Thursday.

Alleging that the BJD-led Odisha Government is depriving the backward classes in the State of their Constitutional rights, several activists of the saffron party reached the Collectorate and demanded to meet the district Collector. 

As per reports, police officials deployed at the Collectorate refused them permission following which the BJP members attempted to barge into the office premises by breaking the barricades. This triggered a scuffle between the members of the saffron party and the police.

Some activists even tried to break the main gate of the Collectorate and vandalised many vehicles parked inside the premises of the Collector’s office, added reports.

Meanwhile, the Bhadrak’s Superintendent of Police (SP) along with a police contingent rushed to the spot after receiving information about the melee and tried to bring the law and order situation under control.

“The incident took place during a rally and action will be taken against the guilty as per law. Security arrangements at the Collector’s office were adequate. However, those who barged into the premises will be booked,” informed SP Charan Singh Meena when asked about the alleged security breach.

Bhadrak District Collector, Trilochan Majhi said, “The protestors were supposed to submit the memorandum in a peaceful way. However, some people barged into the campus and created chaos. Legal action will be taken against them.”

On December 22, the Orissa High Court had ruled that there must be no reservation for backward class candidates in the three-tier Panchayat elections, in compliance with earlier orders issued by the Supreme Court.

Following the HC order, the Odisha government published the new reservation list for the Panchayat polls on December 28.

It may be noted here that a political slugfest has erupted ever since the draft reservation list was released by the State government without making any provision for the reservation of seats for OBC lass candidates in the upcoming Panchayat elections.