DHENKANAL: Tension prevailed at Motanga Square in the district on Monday evening after the protest over the shifting of liquor outlets turned violent, forcing the police to resort to lathicharge.Sources said activists of Milita Odisha Nisha Nibarana Abhiyan and villagers of Chitapur and Nimabaheli, including women, under Motanga police limits on Monday staged a road blockade on NH-55 demanding shifting of wine shops from residential areas.
The blockade continued for several hours from 11.30 am to 7 pm, disrupting the traffic. Hundreds of vehicles were stranded on both sides of the road. They also raised slogans against the BJD led State Government for encouraging traders to open wine and country liquor shops in rural areas.
The protest turned violent after the police forces were deployed to control law and situation at Motanga. Later, Dhenkanal Sub-collector Abanikant Patnaik and the Odapada Additional Tehasildar rushed to the spot and tried to pacify the agitators but failed. Following which, the armed police chased away the agitators and allegedly lathicharged them. Acting on the order of SP Basant Kumar Panigrahi, Motanga police arrested as many as 70 activists.