A serious failure of intelligence by Bhubaneswar police forced Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik to make a back door entry to the State Secretariat after protestors obstructed his convoy near AG Square on Tuesday.
The agitators, from Navanirman Krushak Sangathan, hurled themselves before the pilot vehicle of Naveen’s carcade barely a few hundred metres from the Secretariat thereby bringing the convoy to a grinding halt. Completely taken by surprise, the policemen tried to remove the protesters who engaged them in a tussle.
As the whole drama was unfolding, Naveen’s car had to take a turn from AG Square towards Raj Bhawan and enter the State Secretariat from the back gate.
At least 26 members of the Navanirman Krushak Sangathan were taken into custody by the police after the incident. Criminal charges have been pressed against them for wrongful restraint by obstructing the passage of the Chief Minister, assaulting policemen and preventing them from discharging their duty. They also have been charged with unlawful assembly since prohibitory orders under Section 144 of the CrPC have been clamped along the entire stretch.
Security of the Chief Minister has been augmented following the incident while Police Commissioner Dr R P Sharma, who reviewed the situation, is believed to have given a dressing down to the cops.
Around 11 am, when the CM’s convoy was making its way to the Secretariat, the agitators, who had gathered on the sly near Soochana Bhawan, located next to Bhubaneswar Traffic Police, jumped to the Sachivalaya Marg. By then, the first vehicle of the convoy had passed and the advanced pilot was on its way. The protestors obstructed passage of the first pilot vehicle as the clueless policemen rushed to the spot to remove them.
While the two sides were engaged in a scuffle, Naveen’s car stopped just near the junction. The security men, within a few minutes, diverted his route and the CM’s convoy was led towards Raj Bhawan route and took the roads passing behind the Secretariat.
What was baffling was that City Police had no clue whatsoever about the move by the Navanirman Krushak Sangathan which had, earlier during the winter session of the Assembly, sneaked into the visitors’ gallery and raised slogans. The cops, according to sources, were expecting them to protest near Naveen Nivas and waiting for them there.
Police Commissioner Sharma admitted that it was a clear failure of intelligence and said action would be taken against whosoever is found at fault.
Interestingly, the organisation members had sneaked near Naveen Nivas during wee hours in December last year leaving the police red-faced.
At present, they are staging a dharna near Lower PMG Square but it did not occur to the City Police to keep an eye on their movements leading to the serious lapse.