Two BJP MLAs of Odisha have been booked on the charge of forcibly entering the office of the Sambalpur district collector along with their supporters to submit a memorandum, violating COVID-19 guidelines, police said on Thursday.
Jayanarayan Mishra and Nauri Nayak, legislators of Sambalpur and Rengali respectively, and their supporters also allegedly scuffled with police personnel who were on duty at the collectorate on Tuesday.
After the incident, the police registered a case against Mishra, Nayak and their supporters under various sections of the Indian Penal Code, Criminal Law Amendment Act, Epidemic Disease Act and Disaster Management Act, a police officer said.
A group of BJP workers led by the two lawmakers went to the district collectorate here in a procession to submit a memorandum on issues relating to healthcare services for coronavirus affected people in the district.
They were requested by the police to follow the COVID-19 guidelines and not to enter the premises in large numbers, the officer said.
As the BJP leaders and workers did not have the permission to enter the collectorate, they were also urged to submit the memorandum to Additional District Magistrate (ADM) Umakanta Raj at the main gate, but the request went unheeded, the police officer said.
When the police personnel tried to stop BJP leaders and workers from entering the premises, the political party activists allegedly manhandled them, barged in and misbehaved with the ADM.
Attacking the Biju Janata Dal government, Mishra said that if an MLA is not allowed to enter a Collector's office in a democratic country, one can imagine how the administration is functioning in the state.
The former state minister said that he is not afraid of police cases and will continue to highlight the poor healthcare services" in Sambalpur district.
Reacting to the development, state BJP president Samir Mohanty said there was nothing wrong on the part of a peoples representative in visiting the collectors office and the police action showed high-handedness of the government.
Ruling BJD leaders, however, maintained that it was inappropriate on the part of the BJP workers to proceed to the collectorate in a procession amid the COVID-19 pandemic.