Bhubaneshwar, Sept 6: Over 80 persons sustained injuries when a Congress rally against the state government turned violent here today.
As hundreds of Congress workers tried to storm the Odisha Assembly in the afternoon, the police used water cannons and tear gas shells before resorting to a lathicharge.
However, the protesters did not disperse and instead threw stones at the men in khaki. TV footage showed a policewoman collapsing after the Congress workers thrashed her.
Around 60 of his subordinates including Deputy Commissioner Nitinjeet Singh were injured in the clashes, Director General of Police Prakash Mishra told newspersons. The police had not expected that "hooligans" will attack them in an organised manner, the DGP said.
Alleging that the CM had wrongly recommended 42 companies for allocation of coal blocks, former union minister Jagdish Tytler and Odisha Pradesh Congress Committee President Niranjan Patnaik demanded a CBI probe into the matter.
The Congress leaders slammed the BJD government for not properly distributing the PDS wheat and rice. They rued that poor families in Odisha are only supplied 25 kg instead of 35 kg under Central schemes like Antyodaya Anna Yojana. The fact that farmers in Odisha are not getting adequate quantity of fertilizers was also highlighted at the rally.
Naveen Patnaik later accused the opposition of trying to destabilise his government. Refuting all the charges levelled by Congress leaders, the CM asserted that they were aimed at diverting attention from the massive scams which had come to the fore during UPA rule.