Six political parties threatened to take to the streets alleging that police manhandled top leadership and misbehaved with women activists on the second day of 48-hour-bandh here on Thursday.
Leaders of the CPI (M), CPI, Forward Bloc, CPI (ML-Liberation), Samajwadi Party and Rastriya Janata Dal (RJD) were particularly peeved at Deputy Commissioner of Police Nitinjeet Singh.
Addressing a joint press conference, leaders alleged, “Mr. Singh, who is an IPS officer, led a police team that not only bulldozed all Supreme Court guidelines regarding how to conduct with women, but also treated top CPI (M) leadership as criminals.”
The incident took place when CPI(M) State Secretary Janardan Pati, who led a group of bandh supporters from Sachivalaya Marg to the Legislative Assembly as part of the two-day-long bandh.
As the procession was passing through the main road in front of the Assembly, there were not enough police personnel to handle the bandh supporters.
Apparently caught off guard, police personnel reportedly took ‘aggressiveness’ posture to stop the procession.
“The procession never became unruly. We wanted to meet Speaker of Odisha Legislative Assembly and submit a memorandum containing issues in support of which we went on strike,” said Santosh Dash of CPI (M).
Mr. Dash said, “just when the middle level police officials were preparing to facilitate our meeting with the Speaker, DCP Mr. Singh arrived on the scene. He went on using all filthy languages against our leadership and CPI (M) Secretary Mr. Pati was not even spared by him.”
Condemning the incident, CPI Secretary Dibakar Naik said, “police do not know how to behave with political workers and leaders.
We are not petty criminals. By entering restricted zone, CPI (M) leadership had broken the law – a normal situation during declared bandh. But police should have simply arrested the protesters.”
“Many of us are in public life for decades now. We certainly do not deserve such ill-behaviour from the city police,” Mr. Naik lashed out.
Similarly, President of State Samajwadi Party Rabi Behera said, “the behaviour of the police was uncalled for. Male police dragged women activists into police vans contravening Supreme Court guidelines.
Bhubaneswar police, which handle protestors day-in and day-out, must have bare minimum knowledge about rallies and its leadership.
Mr. Pati, who is a prominent figure in Left parties, was not expecting such behaviour from the police.”
Among others Kshitis Biswal of CPI (ML-Liberation), Harish Mohapatra of RJD and Santosh Mitra of Forward Bloc were present.