More than 20 persons were injured in a clash between two groups of BJD workers at Kentalo under Nischintakoili block on Sunday.
According to reports, Mahanga MLA Pratap Jena was going to take lunch in Jayguru ashram along with more than 100 supporters when over 500 local BJD workers led by Kentali Sarpanch Trupti Mayee Nayak and Panchayat Samiti member Prakash Sahoo took out a protest rally against the MLA near Malia Chhack. Although they raised slogans favouring the party and its supremo Naveen Patnaik, they carried placard that read ‘Congress Broker Pratap Jena Go Back’.
Later, when Jena and his supporters tried to visit Kentali, the local party workers prevented them leading to a scuffle between the two groups. When Jena’s supporters allegedly assaulted and scolded the local workers, the latter in retaliation pelted stones at Jena’s car and beat up his supporters with sticks.
While the group clash was going on, Nischintakoili police present on the spot chose to remain silent. When the local BJD workers tried to attack Jena, police escorted him to the Jayguru ashram, situated 300 metres from the clash spot. He was subsequently escorted to Sukerpara gram panchayat. The situation was brought under control following intervention of Salepur SDPO Surya Kant Ray. Later, Jena’s supporters staged a road blockade at Sukerpara demanding immediate arrest of the local workers. They were pacified after police assured them of taking action.
Meanwhile, two separate FIRs were filed by both the groups at Nischintakoili police station, but no arrest has been made yet.
Kentalo Sarapanch Trupti Mayee Nayak and Panchayat Samiti member Prakash Sahoo alleged that Jena had not sanctioned a single paise for development of Kentalo during his tenure and was trying to disturb the party organisation in the area.
“We were protesting his presence in a democratic manner, but the MLA’s supporters resorted to violence,” said Sahoo.
Jena termed the incident as ‘unfortunate’.