BHUBANESWAR: Clash broke out between BJP and BJD workers during the dawn to dusk Bhubaneswar Bandh which threw normal life out of gear in the city on Wednesday. At least three BJP activists were injured in the incident.
The 12-hour shutdown by Odisha BJP, demanding arrest of mayor AN Jena who is embroiled in a sex scandal, saw torching of vehicles and damage to public property in the city.
Pitched battle between activists of the two political parties was reported at the Ram Mandir Square near BJP State Headquarters forcing police to resort to lathicharge. BJP supporters, who were picketing, were taken by surprise when the youth wing of BJD reached the spot in a motorcycle rally from Vani Vihar Square and confronted the agitators.
A clash ensued in which BJP workers were allegedly assaulted by the lathi-wielding BJD workers. The three of the BJP activists were later hospitalised. Soon after incident, BJP workers also turned their ire on locals. They damaged shops and two-wheelers. Police rushed the spot and lathicharged them to disperse the agitators.
Alleging that the attack on BJP workers was done at the behest chief minister Naveen Patnaik, BJP general secretary Bhrugu Baxipatra said, the incident showed the goondaraj unleashed by the ruling Party.
The BJP accused the BJD of taking out the rally without prior police permission. "The ruling party prevented us from holding a peaceful agitation for which the Commissionerate of Police had granted permission. It was unprecedented,” he said. BJP leaders also alleged that the ruling party activists resorted to blank firing. However the police denied the claims.
Similar incidents were reported from different parts of the city. The situation remains tense with a huge posse of police deployed at major locations of the State Capital.
BJP leaders, including former Minister Sameer Dey were and state vice-president Sameer Mohanty were arrested from the main gate of the State Secretariat while preventing government employees from entering the premises.
However, the chief minister Naveen Patnaik reached the Secretariat on time under heavy police security.