Odisha officials freed after 20-hour detention drama

Odisha Sun Times Bureau
Rajnagar, Feb 7:

The two government officials, who were detained by the Bagapatia villagers protesting arrest of a village patriarch, were released on Friday 20 hours after their confinement following the intervention of senior district administration officials in Odisha’s Kendrapara district.

bagapatia agitation

Additional Sub Collector Gagan Bihari Sahu and Rajnagar Tehsildar Kshirod Kumar Behera were detained since 1 PM on Thursday and released at around 9 AM on Friday.

After a series of discussions failed to yield results, three police personnel tried unsuccessfully to release the detenus forcibly.

Sensing the severity of the situation, Kendrapara SP Satish Kumar Gajbhaye, ADM Sashadhar Nayak and other officials rushed to the spot and held discussions with the agitating villagers to secure the release of the detained officials.

Though the senior officials managed to release the detenus, the villagers refused to budge from their agitation till the release of Manguli, whose arrest they termed illegal and unlawful.

‘‘We will not withdraw our agitation till our village head—Manguli Charan Parida—is released from jail,’’ a villager Pradeep Parida said.

Khageswar Lenka, Shripad Hauli, Girish Nayak and many other villagers echoed Parida.

Three platoons of police force were deployed at the Tehsil office to maintain law and order.

Scores of men, women and children have been camping out in the open at the Rajnagar Tehsil office in protest against the arrest of their village head Manguli Charan Parida.

It may be recalled that over 200 villagers, including women, had detained Rajnagar Tehsildar, Sub Collector, and other staff inside the office on Thursday protesting the arrest of a village patriarch who had allegedly prevented the district administration from an eviction drive at Bagapatia.

The village veteran Manguli Charan Parida was picked up from his home around 2 AM on Wednesday and taken to an undisclosed location. The detainee was formally arrested under sections 143, 186, 149, 506 and 7 of Criminal Law (Amendment) Act. A case (No. 18/15) was registered and the village head was produced before Rajnagar SDJM court in the afternoon and sent to Balimula jail till February 11 as his bail plea was rejected.

Following this, over 200 villagers’ gheraoed the Rajnagar Tehsildar’s office at around 2 PM on Thursday and detained the officials in the office.

Earlier on January 28, a team comprising Kendrapara Sub Collector Kanhu Charan Dhir, Additional Sub Collector Gagan Bihari Sahoo, Tehsildar Kshirod Kumar Behera and Revenue Inspector (RI) Sanjib Kumar Sahoo had visited the relocation site at Bagapatia with bulldozer and one platoon police force. The district administration officials had identified 132. 97 acre land on which fencing was to be done and illegal encroachments were to be razed.

However, Manguli Charan Parida, along with over 300 of his supporters, blocked their entry and prevented them from performing their duties. Rajnagar Tehsildar Kshirod Kuamar Behera filed a written complaint with Rajnagar police station against Manguli.

Acting on the complaint, Rajnagar IIC Bijay Kumar Mallick had picked up Manguli from his house post midnight and deployed police force in the village.

Meanwhile, official work at the Rajnagar Tehsil office has come to a standstill following the agitation at the office.

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