Protest against directive on NFSA cards: Tribals thrash cop, ransack block office

Paralakhemundi: Tension ran high in Nuagada block in Gajapati district today after irate tribals ransacked the block office and thrashed a policeman while protesting the directive of the state government asking ineligible beneficiaries to return their ration cards.

Reports said more than 3000 tribals, including women, led by block Congress leader Bina Mandal took out a protest rally in the morning against the directive of the state government asking people to return their ration cards acquired fraudulently under the National Food Security Act (NFSA).

Trouble started when the agitating tribals tried to barge into the block office to meet the Block Development Officer (BDO).

Since police was not aware of the massive rally, only a handful of policemen were deployed at the office. As the irate tribals broke the main gate of the office, the officer-in-charge of Khajuripada Outpost tried to stop them from entering the office chamber of the BDO. At this, the tribals severely thrashed him and ransacked the BDO office. Soon after the incident, the tribals fled the area.

“The Congressmen had organized a rally in the block today. But they had neither informed me nor the IIC about the rally in writing. But a Congress worker today informed me about the rally with the promise that there would no violence as the Congress will just submit its memorandum to the BDO. When I informed this to the BDO, he said there is no problem since the Congress leaders have assured of a peaceful rally. But he asked me to remain present at the office. In the meanwhile, the tribals arrived at the office and staged a demonstration. After being incited by the Congress leaders, they broke the main gate of the office and tried to enter into the office. As I and some policemen tried to stop them, they severely beat me up and ransacked the office room of the BDO,” officer-in-charge of Khajuripada Outpost NN Pradhan told media persons.

He said he has informed the matter to the SDPO and the IIC.

Asked about the matter, Nuangada BDO Khirabdhi Behera said the tribals led by the Congress leaders after submitting the memorandum, ransacked the block office. “They tried to manhandle other block office staffs but could not do so as the staffs locked up inside the office room. I have informed the matter to the district administration and they have asked me to file an FIR after which action would be taken against the perpetrators,” he added.