Mud-slinging over Kendrapara violence

Bhubaneswar: A team of Congress representatives, led by PCC president Prasad Harichandan, today visited SCB Medical College and Hospital in Cuttack and met the people undergoing treatment there after being injured in a clash with police when the former tried to raze an illegal liquor shop in Tamatara village near Rajnagar in Kendrapara district yesterday.

“Police brutally attacked the unarmed and innocent women when they protested illegal sell of wine in their area,” Harichandan later said. Government should take stern action against the police officials responsible for it, he added, demanding investigation into the incident by a transparent agency.

On the other hand, BJD alleged involvement of Congress activists in the violence. “Police first requested the protesters not to take law into their hands as they have not served any notice to raze the liquor shop. When police tried to disperse the protesters, they attacked the forces by pelting stones that prompted the cops to resort to mild lathicharge,” claimed BJD spokesperson Pratab Deb.

“The hand of a particular party behind the incident is clearly seen and that is Congress,” alleged Deb, who represents Aul Assembly segment in Kendrapara district.

According to police, more than a thousand villagers took out an anti-liquor rally yesterday in Namatara village, about 160 km from here. They, however, turned violent and ransacked a roadside wine shop. When the police tried to prevent them, villagers pelted stones and attacked them.

The protesters also set afire a police jeep and damaged a fire brigade vehicle. “Police were compelled to resort to baton charge and blank-firing to disperse the protesters,” superintendent of police Satish Kumar Gajbhiye said.

At least 13 policemen, including the inspector-in-charge of a police station and nine villagers were injured in the incident, he said, adding, “The situation remains tense but under control. We have arrested six villagers for attacking the police party.”

Meanwhile, the Congress team also visited the spot today to take stock of the situation there. The team, including party leaders Srikant Jena and Bijaylaxmi Sahoo, met the family members of the victims of police brutality there and offered all-out support to their agitation.