At least 15 policemen, several protesters and photo journalists were injured and eight police vans were vandalised in Bhubaneswar when BJP activists scuffled with the personnel of the force during BJP Yuva Morcha's "Assembly gherao" agitation on Thursday over the Kalahandi woman teacher's kidnap and murder case.
A rally by the BJP youth wing, which started from the party state headquarters near Ram Mandir, turned violent when the police used the baton at MG Road to disperse them when they attempted to break the cordon to enter the Assembly premises.
Police said the force had to resort to lathi charge when the saffron party activists threw stones targeting it and damaged police vans parked near the agitation site. In the brawl some photo journalists were hurt.
BJP Youth Morcha president Irasish Acharya was taken away from the spot by the police and later allowed to go on PR bond.
"Over 15 police personnel have been injured due to stone pelting and three of them were admitted to Capital Hospital for treatment. Action will be taken against those who were involved in the attack on police personnel on duty as per the law," Commissioner of Police, SK Priyadarshi told reporters after visiting the injured policemen in hospital.
BJP state president, Samir Mohanty criticised the police for its "brutality" against the party's youth wing activists. He alleged that the police baton charged peaceful demonstrators who were demanding sacking of Minister of State for Home DS Mishra and handing over the lady teacher murder case to CBI.
Mr Acharya claimed that many party activists have sustained injuries and were being treated in different hospitals. Mr Mohanty too visited Capital hospital and enquired about the health conditions of the party activists under treatment there.
"The fight will not end. We need justice. The holy land of Lord Jagannath will never tolerate the criminal mindset of this BJD govt. CM has to take action against the criminal minister @DSMishraKLD & @jenapratap66," the BJP Odisha said in an official twitter post.
The fight will not end. We need Justice. The holy land of Lord Jagannath will never tolerate this criminal mindset of this BJD govt. CM has to take action against the criminal minister @DSMishraKLD & @jenapratap66 .#JusticeForMamitapic.twitter.com/MzJazNt9Lp— BJP Odisha (@BJP4Odisha) December 9, 2021
While Mr Mishra is alleged to have a close relation with the prime accused in the murder of the lady teacher, Law Minister Pratap Jena's name had figured among the 13 accused persons in the FIR lodged in the murder of two BJP leaders at Mahanga in Cuttack district in January this year.
The ruling BJD also hit the streets here on Thursday against the Centre over the rise in prices of fuel and other essential commodities. The party activists took out a motorcycle rally which disrupted vehicular movement.
BJD also blamed the BJP-led government at the Centre for rise in unemployment.
The Centre has betrayed the people by making false promises and they are now facing difficulties due to the rise in the prices of essential commodities amidst the COVID-19 pandemic, BJD MLA Snehangini Chhuria said.