Bhubaneswar: Hours before the counting of votes for civic body polls begins, tension ran high at BJB Autonomous College here over allegations of tampering with electronic voting machines (EVMs) kept in the strongroom Friday evening.
Several persons including five police officials sustained injuries during the scuffle at the spot. The Commissionerate Police later resorted to baton charge to disperse the irate public gathered outside the strongroom.
According to sources, members of several political parties and representatives of various candidates spotted a suspicious person coming out of strongroom.
The enraged workers claimed the person failed to give any reply as to what was he doing inside the strong room. People went berserk when the cops tried to rescue the person gheraoed by the mob.
As many as five police personnel including Lingaraj police station IIC Sarat Chandra Patra and Airport police station IIC Umakanta Pradhan were injured while rescuing the person from the clutches of violent public.
Another person identified as Jibanjyoti Lenka, reportedly a polling official, also sustained severe injuries.
“We found the person carrying a paper in his pocket having the list of booths with tick marks on some booth numbers. We found the CCTVs were closed and the LED display boards installed at the strong room were blacking out for a long time. Later, a few others also came out of the room one after the other. We are sure the EVMs have been tampered by supporters of the ruling party after the CCTVs and display TVs were shut down,” alleged Abhijit Kar, a resident of Bhimatangi area.
Later, police resorted to lathi charge to disperse the public during which several people sustained injuries.
Security personnel were called in by the police for deployment at BJB College to prevent further escalation of tension.
Meanwhile, the authorities rubbished the tampering allegations and claimed that tight security arrangements have been put in place around the strong room and the machines are secured.
The counting of the votes will be held Saturday.
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