Bhubaneswar: Under fire from friends and foes alike, Odisha Congress in-charge Jagdish Tytler on Saturday defended himself over the mob violence that broke out outside the state Assembly on Thursday in which a lady constable was attacked, saying that he was not a part of any conspiracy and that the police were equally to blame.
The Odisha Police on Saturday filed a case against Tytler for the mob violence and booked him and six others for attempt to murder, rioting and damage to public property. The FIRs were filed after the lady constable who was attacked during the violence claimed that Tytler incited the mob to attack her. The police have arrested 34 people so far in connection with the protests.
Tytler, however, said that the Congress would be filing a "counter-FIR" against police action on the protesting workers. "I am not a part of any conspiracy. Why only talk about the woman constable and not the Congress woman workers who got hit by the police?" he asked.
Meanwhile, the lady constable, who is recuperating in hospital, said she will not give up her fight against culprits. She further said that she would not forgive Tytler even though he had apologised. "His apology is not going to alleviate the pain, is it?" she said. "I do not accept the apology of Jagdish Tytler and hold him and Niranjan Patnaik (Odisha Congress President) responsible for the attack on me. I was brutally beaten and molested by the mob. I thought I will soon die. I demand strong action. I am in intense pain. However after I recover, I will join duty and would face similar rallies and take action with courage," she said lying in her hospital bed.
Coalgate: Congress workers clash with police
Congress workers clashed with the police during their protest over coalgate outside the Odisha Assembly. The protesters demanded the resignation of Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik. The Congress said that Patnaik recommended people for the coal blocks allocations.
The police, however, lathicharged the Congress workers, used water cannons and fired tear gas to disperse them. Police officials claimed that the mob attacked and beat up a lady constable mercilessly after which the order to use force against the Congress workers was given. Over 100 Congress workers were injured in the clash.
Odisha Director General of Police (DGP) Prakash Mishra said that they used minimum force to disperse the crowd. He claimed that the crowd turned violent and indulged in vandalism outside the Assembly. He added that Congress workers were armed with sticks, rods, bricks and stones. Several of them were also drunk, said Mishra.
Bouquets and brickbats for Tytler
Patnaik, on Friday, condemned the violence, saying the state was not used to such protests.
Congress, too, had some strong words for Tytler. Party leader Digvijaya Singh said, "I strongly condemn the misbehaviour of Congress activists in Odisha with the lady constable. The party must take strong against the culprits."
Defending Tytler, however, Congress chief whip Prasad Harichandan said that Tytler had asked the partymen to come forward for jail bharo. "He did not instigate violence.
"I do not think calling upon partymen to court arrest is any crime or instigation," he said.
"This is an unfortunate incident. We are sorry for the assault on the lady constable. Women police should not be deployed at the forefront. We demand action against senior police officers responsible for deployment of women at sensitive places," he said after party MLAs boycotted the Assembly.
Leader of Opposition Bhupinder Singh of Congress sought to give a different spin saying "All people present at the rally were not Congress activists. Some people, who are angry over the BJD government's misrule, may have assaulted the woman constable."
Tytler, on the other hand, told a news channel that it was wrong to assault a woman. "There is a bid to defame us in public. The incident has proved that Naveen Patnaik is incapable of giving good governance.