Locals gherao police station protesting arrest of youths

Keonjhar: Locals gheraoed the Telkoi Police Station in Keonjhar today protesting the arrest of two villagers in connection with the Telkoi block office lock-up on March 11.

Demanding the release of two youths, Pagela Munda and Jagannath Patra, over hundreds of locals from Salekena Panchayat under Telkoi block of the district staged protest outside the police station today.

On March 11, alleging irregularities in distribution of rice, more than hundred locals from Salekena panchayat had locked up the Telkoi block office. After the civil supplies officer assured of investigation into the irregularities, the protest was withdrawn. However, Munda and Patra, who spearheaded the protest, were arrested by the police on Tuesday night.

“We all participated in the protest and it’s unfair that only these two have been arrested,” said a local, Manjulata Deuri.

Police sources informed that cases have been registered against the duo as they had locked up the block office while the model code of conduct has come into force.

Prakash James Toppo, Sub-Divisional Police Office (SDPO) of Telkoi Police Station said, “Two persons were arrested for locking the block office. Some people today came to inquire about their arrest and left thereafter.”