KENDRAPARA: Driven into a frenzy over mass agitation by the farmers, the State Police turned the Capital into a fort and went after the protestors across the City on Wednesday. Tension ran high as the farmers, gathered under the banner of Navanirman Krushak Sangathan (NKS), were arrested before they could enter the City to attend the meet.
The agitating farmers and their leaders were bundled into police vans from several entry points of the City. Majority of arrests were carried out at Hi Tech Square, National Highway 16, where the farmers had planned to congregate before launching the protest.
To prevent their entry into the City, police clamped prohibitory orders under Section 144 of CrPC at Hi Tech Square and intensified checking of passenger vehicles. The mass demonstration could not materialise as the activists were detained at PMG Square, Vani Vihar Square and Rasulgarh Square but not before they were involved in minor scuffle with the Commissionerate Police.
The police, who have been carrying out preventive arrests of the NKS leaders for the last few days, had fortified the City with 50 platoon force at vantage locations, entry and exit points, bus stand and railway stations. More than 30,000 farmers, who owed allegiance to the NKS, were on their way to the Capital to participate in the protest, police sources said.
Police sources said some of the farmer leaders were planning “illegal demonstration” before the State Assembly, which is in session. Around 1,000 protesters were taken into custody before being released in the evening, DCP Satyabrata Bhoi said.
NKS advisor Soumya Ranjan Patnaik, who was arrested from Rasulgarh Square, alleged that the State Government was making an attempt to muzzle the farmers’ voice with force. “The steps taken by the Government is draconian and farmers have decided to launch Satyagraha across the State from Thursday onwards,” Patnaik told mediapersons.
NKS had planned the mass agitation demanding price, pension and prestige (PPP) for farmers. Sensing trouble during the agitation, the Commissionerate of Police on Monday arrested Akshaya Kumar and Shesadeb Nanda, two frontline leaders of the association. The duo, currently lodged at Bhubaneswar Special Jail, are on hunger strike since Tuesday.
Police Commissioner Y B Khurania said the police had specific intelligence about the protesters creating law and order situation in the Capital while the Assembly session is underway.
“Permission for the demonstration was withdrawn and some of the representatives of the association were taken into custody as they did not comply with the guidelines for carrying out peaceful protest. We had given them permission for a rally but they wanted to hold a public meeting which was denied,” Khurania added.