33 held for violence during Congress rally (Lead)

September 7th, 2012 - 7:43 pm ICT by IANS  

Bhubaneswar, Sep 7 (IANS) At least 33 people have been arrested in connection with the violence during a Congress rally in Odisha’s capital Bhubaneswar, police said Friday.

“We have arrested 33 people. We are examining 12 hours closed-circuit television camera footage to identify all others involved in the vandalism,” Deputy Commissioner of Police Nitinjit Singh told IANS.

Singh however did not clarify if the arrested persons were political workers or linked to the Congress Party. “We arrested them after examining the footage,” he added.

Meanwhile, the Congress, which has been demanding the resignation of Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik, has called for a state-wide shutdown Sep 10 to protest the “police excesses” on its workers during the rally.

Describing the use of force on its workers as “unprovoked, undemocratic and a deliberate attempt to suppress the voice of the people”, senior Congress leader Narasimha Mishra said his party would not rest till it dislodged the state government. Mishra also said his party has demanded an impartial judicial probe into the violence.

In the aftermath of the violence Thursday, both the police and the Congress had blamed each other for the incident. State police chief Prakash Mishra said that the police used force after the crowd indulged in vandalism outside the assembly. The Congress, on the other hand, accused the police of attacking Congressmen and thus triggering violence.

At least 100 people, including protestors and several policemen, were injured when the rally by the Congress against the Naveen Patnaik-led government Thursday turned violent.

The cops used water cannons, lobbed tear gas shells and resorted to batons to disperse the irate crowd after the rallyists allegedly stormed the barricade and attacked the police.

It was the first massive rally that the Congress held in Bhubaneswar to highlight what it termed the “failure of the state government on various fronts”.

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