Baripada: A 12-hour bandh call given by Jharkhand Mukti Morcha (JMM) protesting increase in drug peddling in Baripada was marked by vandalism and police lathicharge on agitators Wednesday.
Lathti-wielding JMM activists forced closure of government offices, shops markets, schools and colleges during the bandh. Bus and trains services were disrupted during the bandh, while only two-wheelers were seen moving on the roads.
The JMM was supported by the district lawyers’ association and several other outfits. The agitators accused the police of being inefficient in cubing drug trafficking in Baripada town.
According to reports, JMM activists detained Shalimar Express train for three hours at Palabani Golei since 6.30 am. Railway police inspector JN Mohapatra haled talks with the agitators, who later relented.
The JMM activists staged demonstrations at Murgabadi Golei at Palabani Bypass and several other places.
Tension prevailed in various parts of the town due to the bandh. The agitators did not allow plying of four-wheelers on the roads and vandalised over 20 cars and trucks.
JMM workers intercepted a garbage-lifting tractor and allegedly attacked its driver and a helper.
As the situation went out of control, the police, instead of taking action, allegedly left the place. Vice-chairperson of the civic body Jitendra Mohanty intimated SP R Prakash about the incident.
The SP came to the scene and even chased the JMM activists who were coming on a bike rally at Palabani Golei. The SP ordered lathicharge on the agitators while he himself lathicharged some of the protesters.
To ward off untoward incidents, 10 platoons of police were deployed in different parts of the town while ASP Dinajan Nayak, SDPO Abhimanyu Nayak and other senior police officials conducted patrolling in the town.
Passengers had a harrowing time and were stranded at various places due to disruption of bus and train services.
JMM leader Pintu Maiti said the agitation will be carried out in coming days against police officials for ‘promoting’ drug peddling in the town.
Meanwhile, two vehicle owners – Gladson Majhi and Sukant Kumar Mohanty – filed cases against JMM protestors. Police registered a case and arrested six persons including Ruturaj Mohanty, Amarjyoti Nayak, Hrushikesh Chand, Upesh Das, Umesh Nayak and Rahul Mahakud.
However, JMM leader Maiti alleged filing of cases against JMM workers is a trick of opposition parties. PNN