Odisha Sun Times Bureau
Bhubaneswar, Mar 11:
The Odisha government today ordered an inquiry by the RDC into the incident of police firing on women protesting against a liquor shop in Namtara village of Kendrapara district last Sunday.
The announcement was made in the state Assembly by Parliamentary Affairs Minister Bikram Keshari Arukh on behalf of Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik, who is also the Home minister, while replying to the debate on the adjournment motion in the House moved by the Congress. RDC (Central) will conduct the inquiry, he told the House.
The minister also announced that the expenses on treatment of the nine injured villagers admitted to the SCB medical College Hospital in Cuttack are being be borne by the state government.
“The Opposition had given a notice for a debate on the law and order situation incident at Namtara village under Rajkanika block in Kendrapara district through an adjournment motion. Till date, six persons have been arrested in connection with the case and nine persons injured in the incident are undergoing treatment. The government is bearing the expenses on their treatment. The district administration has taken up the responsibility of providing them with suitable treatment. The government has taken into consideration the concerns expressed by the Opposition during the debate on the adjournment motion and has ordered a RDC level inquiry. After the inquiry report comes, action will be taken against whosoever is found guilty,” said Arukh speaking to the media after the debate.
On the other hand, the Opposition, which had demanded an inquiry by a House Committee into the incident, was critical of the government for ordering an RDC inquiry.
“The government, which believes in dictatorship, doesn’t even bother to give replies to the Opposition demands and tries to wriggle out of the situation. That is what happened today in the House. Through its arguments, the Opposition had demanded a probe by a House Committee into the incident, but the government said it will have an inquiry by the RDC instead. The Opposition rejects this inquiry. Let good sense prevail on the state government and a House Committee be formed with most members from the ruling party. The report by the House Committee can be debated in detail in the House,” said leader of opposition Narasingha Mishra.
“We had demanded for an inquiry by a House Committee which could have members from all parties. We had wanted that the House Committee should go on a spot visit to the area and conduct an impartial inquiry into the incident. The cases against people should be withdrawn. They didn’t listen to our arguments and ordered for an inquiry by the RDC. We have no faith in this probe because it’s a probe by a machinery of the administration against another which is involved in the incident”, said Basant Panda, leader of the BJP legislature party.
Speaker Niranjan Pujari had earlier adjourned the Assembly till 12.30 PM on the first day of the second leg of the Budget Session following noisy scenes by the Opposition on police excesses committed in Namtara village under Rajkanika block in Kendrapara on campaigners against liquor trade in the area on March 8.
Nine persons including women and minor children sustained serious injuries in the clash between the police and protestors also some policemen and journalists were injured in the incident. Injured protestors are undergoing treatment at SCB Medical College and Hospital at Cuttack.
Police has arrested six persons in connection with clash and has filed cases against over sixty persons. The protesting villagers had torched a police vehicle.
While the police claimed that the protestors had ransacked the licensed liquor shop and had pelted stones on policemen, television visuals had shown police too had hurled stones at the protestors who were mainly women.