BJP seeks intervention of rights panel over Odisha arrests

Bhubaneswar, (IANS) The BJP in Odisha on Wednesday moved the Odisha State Human Rights Commission (OHRC) against the arrest of 114 people, including 63 women, who were demanding the shifting of a bridge site from their village in Keonjhar district.

The villagers of Belbahali in Keonjhar district are agitating against the construction of a bridge over the Kusei river and demanding relocation of the bridge site.

They were involved in a scuffle with police on July 7, which resulted in the arrest of many people.

“Arresting people at midnight without prior notice and dragging them onto police vans like animals is a gross violation of human rights. We demand that the OHRC immediately intervene in the matter and expedite the release of all the arrested people, especially the 63 women,” said a memorandum from the BJP submitted before the commission.

A 12-member team of the BJP, which visited the village to take stock of the situation, said police baton-charged and fired rubber bullets at the villagers in which hundreds of people were injured.

The memorandum said no women police personnel were present, when the women villagers were arrested and they were dragged to the vans by male police.

The BJP said the injured people were denied medical treatment at local hospitals.

At least seven of the women arrested have infants below the age of one, and it was inhuman to keep them locked up, it added.

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