Reported by Santosh Jagdev
Bhubaneswar, Feb 19:
For the second time in a little over a year, there was a major breach in Odisha Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik’s security as a group of Youth Congress and Students’ Congress broke the security, cordon, pelted eggs and showed black flags at his convoy near Keshari Talkies here while it was on its way to the Utkal University campus at Vani Vihar for a function this evening.
The Chief Minister’s convoy was stranded on the Sachivalaya Marg for several minutes before taking a detour to reach Vani Vihar, where he addressed the annual day function of the Utkal University Students’ Union later.
As the situation threatened to get out of control, police had to resort to a mild lathicharge to disperse them.
Television screens of news channels showed an activist aiming an egg at the Chief Minister, but missing the target. There was another footage of a lady in salwar kameez half-walking, half-running alongside the Chief Minister’s car. Any thought that she could be a policewoman was dispelled seconds thereafter when a policewoman was seen dragging her away.
On December 23, 2013, activists of Navanirman Krushak Sangathan (NKS) had breached the security cordon and got close to the Chief Minister’s vehicle barely yards away from the secretariat gate. Rattled by this breach of security, the police establishment had claimed to have refurbished the Chief Minister’s sceurity detail leaving no room for any breach.
But as today’s incident showed, the ovreahul of the security either never happened or was not foolproof. What makes things even more unforgiveable for the policemen in charge of the Chief Minister’s security is that there was definite intelligence input that had forewarned about precisely such an eventuality.
Stung by this second breach in just a little over a year, Director General of Police (DGP) said he had ordered an inquiry by Twin City Commissioner Dr RP Sharma into this serious lapse. “We have taken this incident very seriously. I have asked the Commissioner to fix repsonsibility for this serious lapse. Based on his inquiry report, we shall take the strictest possible action against the guilty,” the DGP said.
As if to prove just how seriously the police establishment had taken this incident, the DGP was closeted with the top brass of the Commissionerate Police at a meeting at the CP headquarters till late in the evening. Though no details of what exactly transpired at the meeting were immediately available, sources said heads are bound to roll.
The then ADG, (Law and Order) Abhay, it may be noted, had been unceremonioulsy shunted out after the last breach in the Chief Minister’s security in December 2013.
Earlier in the evening, Commissionerate police swooped down on the residence of senior Congress leader Lalatendu Bidyadhar (Lulu) Mohapatra on suspicion that some of the leaders of the youth wing could have taken shleter at his place.
Commisionerate police was predicatbly tight-lipped about whether they found anyone at Mohapatra’s residence. But a large contingent of policemen was seen outside Mohapatra’s residence for quite some time in the evening.
The IIC of Capital Police station revealed that five demonstrators have been arrested, but declined to divulge their identity.