The politically volatile Pipili turned into a battlefield with the ruling and Opposition party activists engaging in a bitter fight that led to multiple bombings in the main market area on Thursday.
Vehicular traffic was badly affected along the NH 203 for several hours due to road blockades and the bombing incidents.
Trouble started earlier in the day when some Biju Janata Dal activists objected to posters and banners of Congress put up at the Pipili Chhak during the former’s rally. This led to angry exchanges and both sides allegedly attacked each other. Dhirendra Samantray, son of former MLA Yudhistir Samantray, suffered head injuries and was rushed to a private hospital in the Capital.
Opposing the incident, members of Congress staged a road blockade along the NH which continued for an hour. Police rushed to the spot and persuaded them to relent. At about 6 pm, the BJD activists staged a blockade over the same issue but police could manage to disperse them in 15 minutes. However, at about 7.30 pm, at least five crude bombs were hurled one after the other in the market area leading to panic. No one was injured. Who were behind the bombings is yet to be ascertained.
Khurda SP DN Gochhayat, who was camping at the spot, said situation was returning to normal and traffic movement streamlined. “We are a keeping a close watch on the situation,” he said from Pipili.