KEONJHAR: At least 26 persons, including seven cops, were injured on Tuesday in a clash when villagers at Belabahali near Anandpur protesting construction of a bridge over Kosei river in the area turned violent. The BDO of Anandpur also sustained injury in the incident.
Angry over efforts to start the bridge construction at the proposed site on Kosei river on NH-215, a large number of residents of Belabahali confronted the police force already deployed in the area.
When police tried to disperse the protesters, the villagers fought a pitched battle throwing stones and bricks and using sticks.
The agitated villagers also torched a camp of a construction company and some vehicles and equipment at the site.
Senior police officials rushed to the area where more than 450 police personnel were deployed to prevent further flare-up and restore normalcy.
More than 100 protesters have been taken into custody. The situation in the area was tense but under control. The injured have been sent to hospitals for treatment.
The villagers have been opposing the construction of bridge over Kosei river as part of the expansion of National Highway 215. The locals had been demanding that the location of the bridge be shifted as the current location may cause floods.
Demonstrations and dharnas have also been held by the residents demanding that its location be shifted.
Talks were also held between locals and the administration on the issue but no concrete outcome had emerged yet.
Congress leaders Jaydev Jena and Niranjan Patnaik condemned the police action.