BHUBANESWAR: For the second consecutive day on Friday, the Lower PMG area witnessed a pitched battle over the Mamita Meher murder case, as workers of National Students’ Union of India (NSUI) of Congress clashed with police when the latter stopped them from breaking the security cordon and forcing their way into the Assembly. Some of the agitators also allegedly tried to set a police van on fire.
Like the BJP Yuva Morcha on Thursday, NSUI took out a rally from Congress Bhawan to gherao the Assembly. However, the rally turned violent when workers of the student wing of Congress were stopped by police leading to a scuffle. As police resorted to lathicharge to disperse the crowd, the agitators pelted eggs and tomatoes at them. Police chased the activists into the Congress Bhawan and allegedly beat them up.
President of NSUI’s Odisha unit Yasir Nawaj alleged that police entered the Congress Bhawan and beat up the party activists mercilessly as a result of which, several of them were injured. An agitator, who was bleeding from the head, was carried to safety by policemen. Alleging police brutality, several workers of NSUI sat on a dharna near Master Canteen Square and demanded stringent action against the erring security personnel.
Police, on the other hand, claimed that the activists attempted to set ablaze a police van. Over 20 platoons of police force were deployed to maintain law and order situation but some protestors managed to sneak into the tight security cordon and set the tyre of a police van on fire. “There were some protestors inside the van and if the blaze had spread to the vehicle’s fuel tank, lives of both the agitators and security personnel would have been at risk,” said a senior police officer. Security personnel spotted the fire and doused it immediately. Police had to resort to lathicharge when the agitators turned violent and attempted to damage public property, he said.
The Odisha Pradesh Congress Committee (OPCC) strongly condemned the police action and entry of security personnel into the Congress Bhawan.
Earlier, addressing the protest meeting, Congress leaders including OPCC president Niranjan Patnaik and CLP leader Narasingha Mishra announced that the Congress protest against the government will continue till Minister of State for Home Dibya Shankar Mishra is removed for his alleged links with the main accused in the Mamita Meher case.
Meanwhile, the BJD condemned the Congress for trying to set on fire the police vehicle. Party spokesperson Lenin Mohanty said that security personnel averted the untoward incident by intervening at the right time. He said that in a competition with BJP, NSUI activists hurled tomatoes and eggs at police. But such violent brand of politics will not be successful and Congress can never revive in the State, he added.