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Sharmili Mallick

Puri: Tension sparked off in Puri town on Friday evening after police lathicharged locals who allegedly ransacked a filling station near Medical Chhak accusing it of stealing fuel.

According to reports, a customer asked one of the petrol pump staff for a litre petrol in a jar. However, the petrol measured only 650 ml following which an altercation ensued between the staff and the customer.

Some locals present at the spot also jumped into the argument and allegedly ransacked the fuel dispensers and other property of the petrol pump.

Later, Kumbharpara police rushed to the spot and tried to pacify the mob but the infuriated locals allegedly attacked the cops following which the officials resorted to lathicharge on the protestors to bring the situation under control.

Many persons received injuries in the lathicharge. Some journalists who reached the spot for covering the incident also received injuries.

“Even if I introduced myself as a journalist and showed my identity card, the police personnel beat me up,” alleged a scribe who received injuries in the incident.

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Another journalist, who also sustained injuries during the lathicharge, said, “Even after seeing the camera in my hand, they attacked me. I told them that I am a photo journalist but the cops did not stop. I have received injuries on my thigh and back.”

Meanwhile, the district Collector informed that a team of Weights & Measures, Supply and petroleum departments from Bhubaneswar will conduct a high-level inquiry into the allegations of stealing of petrol against the petrol pump.

Earlier, the Weights & Measures department had given a clearance to the petrol pump after similar allegations were leveled against the filling station.

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