Odisha Sun Times Bureau
Kendrapara, Mar 8:
At least 14 persons including five policemen were injured when irate villagers pelted stones at them near a licensed liquor shop at Namatara village under Rajkanika police station limits in Odisha’s Kendrapara district today.
Nine villagers including two men, four women and three children were injured as police resorted to lathicharge to disperse the mob.
Sources said the people of Namatara village had been demanding shifting of a licensed liquor shop from their village as some anti-social elements were creating nuisance in the area under the influence of liquor.
But as the district administration paid no heed to their demands, the irate villagers including women and self-help group (SHG) groups members marched towards the liquor shop in the morning.
Following information that the villagers were ready to ransack the liquor shop, IIC of Rajkanika police station Sandhyarani Behuria directed Dhaneswar Behera, ASI of Kandiahaat police outpost, to rush to the spot with police team to control the mob and ask them not to take law into their hands.
Acting on the directive, the ASI rushed to the spot and tried to bring the situation under control. But the villagers were in no mood to listen to him and went on ransacking the liquor shop.
Following information, a team of Rajkanika police led by the IIC rushed to the spot. Seeing the police team, the irate mob pelted stones as a result of which the IIC, the ASI of Kandiahaat police outpost, driver of Rajkanika police station Kamal Kumar Mallick, and constables LK Malla, BK Majhi and BN Mandal were injured.
“The police team later fled the spot leaving the police jeep which was set on fire by the mob”, informed Kendrapara SP Satish Gajbhiye.
Owner of the liquor shop Krushna Panda, in a complaint lodged with the police, alleged that liquor worth of Rs 5 lakh was destroyed while cash of Rs two lakh were looted from the shop cash counter by the mob.
Meanwhile, a team of police led by the SP, SDPO of Pattamundai, Kedarnath Sahu and IICs of the nearby police stations rushed to the spot with a platoon of armed police force to take stock of the situation.
Talking to the media, the SP said the police had opened only four rounds of blank firing to disperse the mob.
“There are no casualties. I have asked my men to visit the local Community Health Centre (CHC) to ascertain the veracity of the allegation that about five to six persons sustained injuries in firing. The situation in the locality is tense but under control. To ward off any untoward incident, three platoons of police force have been deployed in and around the village”, he added.
Meanwhile, the injured villagers have been admitted to the SCB Medical College and Hospital in Cuttack.