20 held for poll violence in Dharmasala

The unrest occurred after the polls concluded for the Dharmasala Assembly constituency.
Image used for representation
Image used for representation

JAJPUR: As many as 20 supporters of Independent candidate Himanshu Sekhar Sahoo were arrested in Dharmasala on Monday for allegedly causing disturbance and damaging government property at the Dharmasala block office premises.

According to a suo motu complaint filed by the Dharmasala police, hundreds of Sahoo’s supporters created a ruckus and damaged a government passenger bus and a police vehicle on Saturday night. The unrest occurred after the polls concluded for the Dharmasala Assembly constituency.

Police stated that the supporters barged into the block office premises and resorted to violence, damaging government property. A case has been registered under relevant sections of the IPC against approximately 100 supporters of Sahoo, and an investigation is underway.

“Around 100 supporters of Sahoo have been named in the FIR. We conducted raids at various locations of Dharmasala and Rasulpur areas on Sunday night and managed to arrest 20 people involved in the incident. Our raids are on and the rest will be apprehended soon,” said a district police official.

The accused were forwarded to the local court on the day, police further stated. The protests erupted immediately after Sahoo’s supporters spotted some EVM machines inside a polling vehicle that had arrived at the Dharmasala block office post-election. They questioned Dharmasala BDO Debendra Prasad Bal why the EVMs were brought to the block office instead of the strong room at Jajpur town. Expressing outrage, the supporters gheraoed the vehicle, leading to unrest.

They staged demonstrations and allegedly damaged the windows of a government passenger bus and a police vehicle by pelting stones. Police had to resort to lathi charge to disperse the agitators. The situation was brought under control after the district administration clarified that the EVMs in question were reserve EVMs, not those used for polling.

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