Protests erupt over police inaction against MLA who forced official to do sit-ups

Bolangir: Tension prevailed in front of the Bolangir Collector’s office today after members of the Bolangir District Tribal Welfare Association scuffled with police while trying to forcibly enter the collectorate demanding arrest of Patnagarh MLA Saroj Meher, who had forced the Public Works Department (PWD) junior engineer Jayakanta Sabar to do sit-ups.

Earlier, the Tribal Welfare Association took out a rally playing traditional drums and brandishing weapons and gheraoed the Bolangir Collectorate. However, the situation turned unpleasant when police opposed the protestors who were trying to barge into the Collector’s office. A scuffle broke out between the police and protestors.

“We were staging protest in a democratic manner, but police stopped us. We demand that the Chief Minister should expel Saroj Meher from the MLA post,” said Brajakishore Singh Bhoi, president of the Tribal Welfare Association.

“As the protestors were trying to enter the Collectorate, we stopped them,” said Tofan Bag, a police official.
Meanwhile, the Junior Engineers’ Association, which has been observing cease-work strike, is getting ready to stage a similar protest opposing the MLA’s conduct.

On June 6, a video showing the Patnagarh MLA forcing the Junior Engineer to do sit-ups near Belpada area had gone viral on social media drawing sharp reactions from various quarters.

While the MLA tendered apology, a day after the incident, Sabar went missing. Following the incident, Sabar’s wife lodged a police complaint alleging that her husband was kidnapped by the MLA.

After cops traced the missing JE from Khariar area, he made some startling revelations alleging that the Executive Engineer, who was present at the spot during the incident, slapped him on the instruction of the legislator. Fearing further attack, he had to do sit-ups, the JE had said.