Staff Reporter

BERHAMPUR: The Orissa Pradesh Congress Committee (OPCC) has demanded a judicial inquiry into the police lathicharge on students and arrest of Student Congress activists in the city last week. According to a press release of the OPCC, the decision has been taken at a meeting which was chaired by party State president K.P. Singh Deo.

The meeting was also attended by the leader of the opposition in the Orissa Assembly, Bhupinder Singh, two working presidents of the State unit of the party Chandrasekhar Sahu and Lalatendu Vidyadhar Mohapatra.

They demanded that the arrested students and Congress activists of the city be released unconditionally. They demanded a judicial probe into the incidents that led to lathicharge by the police and arrest of these student activists in Berhampur on February 26.

State-wide stir planned

The OPCC decided to go for State-wide agitation if the State government did not heed to their demands within a fortnight.

The OPCC also decided to have its own probe regarding the incident. For the purpose, a three-member committee, headed by former Inspector General of Police (IGP)-turned Congressman, Batakrushna Tripathy, was formed. The committee would file its report to the OPCC president within two weeks.

The Congress leaders were critical of the intentional police action against student agitators in different parts of the State like Bolangir, Utkal University campus, Berhampur University campus etc. They alleged that the ruling BJD was trying to use the police for its political gains on major campuses of educational institutes of the State. There were also allegations by Congress leaders that the police had resorted to filing false cases against students. It may be noted that the city had faced student unrest due to tussle between rival political groups of students.