BJD hartal, campus violence put Odisha police in dock

Bhubaneswar: Five-hour hartal by Biju Janata Dal (BJD) against fuel price hike and ongoing campus violence ahead of students’ union polls showed law and order failure by police administration in Odisha.

The peaceful hartal as claimed by BJD led by Odisha Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik turned violent with several incidents reported about misbehaviour towards commuters including women, journalists, working professionals, patients and students.

In many places the BJD activists vandalised the vehicles, burnt tyres, stopped ambulance carrying patients and disrupted normalcy in the state capital.

However, the cops were found mute spectators during the hartal instead of taking action against the goons and helping people to show other routes to reach their destinations.

Even there were no police deployed at the protest sites in posh areas like Chandrasekharpur and Patia in the morning. In some places police were standing idle.

On the other hand, pre-poll violence reported in SCS College and Kakatpur college in Puri ahead of students’ union polls with vandalism and clash with police. Following pre-poll violence erupted in Utkal University the authorities cancelled students’ elections. Two cases were filed at Sahid Nagar police station arresting one student in connection with campus violence in Utkal University.

The unruly scenes and violence during hartal and college campus across Odisha raised a big question on the efficiency of Home department, which is headed by CM Patnaik.

Police failed to maintain law and order after the BJD activists launched protest in all the district headquarters.

Following several criticism Police Commissioner YB Khurania said that immediate action will be taken against the culprits after verifying the CCTV footages if the complaint will be lodged by the hartal victims.

However, Home department did not feel it appropriate to take precautionary measure to avoid untoward incidents after the BJD called for the hartal on Sunday. The strike against fuel price hike by Union government could have been peaceful if it was carried out properly without hurting common people. The pre-poll violence could have been avoided if adequate security forces were deployed at the college and university campus and non-students were removed from the hostels earlier.

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