BERHAMPUR: Tension prevailed in Hinjili on Sunday over police lathi-charge on a group of villagers from Kolidaspur, who were protesting the arrest of five persons in connection with a vandalism incident.
On Friday, a group of people had set fire to a tractor, a tipper, an excavator, and two motorcycles, that had allegedly been engaged in illegal sand lifting from the Rushikulya river bed near Kolidaspur village. Police on Saturday night arrested five persons in the connection.
However, the villagers rose in protest and gheraoed the Hinjili police station demanding the immediate release of the arrested persons. They did not allow senior officers who had rushed to the spot to enter the police station and also resorted to stone pelting.In order to disperse the crowd, police resorted to lathi-charge as a result of which several of the protesters were injured. The police also detained eight other villagers.
After the incident, leaders of opposition parties reached the area and along with the villagers, staged a road blockade near the police station. Those who sustained injuries in the lathi-charge got medical attention on their own even as the administration remained mum over the police action.
A few local BJD leaders reached the police station and held discussions with BDO Prasanna Patra and SDPO Suryamani Pradhan to reach an amicable solution to the issue. The deliberations bore fruit as the five arrested for vandalism and the eight for pelting stones on police personnel, were released on bail. Even as normalcy was restored, the villagers have now decided to meet Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik and apprise him of their problems. They said illegal sand mining has weakened the river embankment posing serious threat to the area.