10 arrested after violent clash at Odisha's Baripada bus stand

They were produced in court and remanded to judicial custody after their bail applications were denied.
Representational image.
Representational image.Express Illustrations

BARIPADA: Bhanjpur police in Mayurbhanj district arrested 10 persons from across different wards of Baripada municipality on Saturday for their alleged involvement in a clash at the Baripada bus terminal on Friday evening. Many bus staff and members of the Baripada Bus Owners’ Association were attacked resulting in serious injuries to six persons.

The 10 persons arrested belong to two opposing groups- one comprising members of the bus owners’ association and the other, reportedly, attackers who targeted the association members. They were produced in court and remanded to judicial custody after their bail applications were denied.

Official sources said, based on complaints from both sides, police registered a case of attempted murder. Preliminary investigation suggests the violence stemmed from longstanding political enmity between the two groups.

The injured individuals were admitted to Pandit Raghunath Murmu medical college and hospital (PRM MCH). Two of the critically injured were later shifted to KIMS in Bhubaneswar and SCB medical college and hospital in Cuttack.

Announcing an indefinite agitation in response to the attack, the Mayurbhanj Bus Owners’ Association members said the conflict started when they opposed a bus violating the time schedule at the bus stand. The bus had arrived early and was attempting to leave before its scheduled time, prompting protests from supervisors, drivers and helpers.

In retaliation, the driver, helper, and conductor of the bus, allegedly supported by a politically active owner, summoned over 100 people who attacked the bus staff with sharp weapons.

The mob later attempted to attack president of Baripada Bus Owners’ Association Sunil Kumar Das. He, however, narrowly escaped from the bus terminal and rushed towards an outpost located near the bus stand.

On being informed, a team of police from Baripada town police station rushed to the bus terminal to pacify the matter. Sources said the conflict may have arisen over rivalry between two groups with political affiliations to different major political parties.

Commuters stranded due to bus strike

Baripada: Commuters faced inconvenience starting Friday evening as private bus services in Baripada came to a halt. The disruption followed an indefinite strike called by the bus owners’ association after the violent clash that injured many at the Baripada bus terminal around 8 pm.

Economically sound commuters arranged private vehicles to reach their destinations, while others had to pay extra fares to reach buses stationed outside the town, causing major delays. Three critically injured persons, along with three others who were also hurt, were admitted to hospital.

The association has vowed to continue the strike until the assailants are arrested. They specifically demanded the arrest of three to four persons who allegedly used sharp blades, typically used in cockfighting, to attack the bus staff.

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