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Assaulted policewoman back in action

- Pramila Padhi battles nightmares and pain, ready for posting at political rallies

Bhubaneswar, Dec. 7: Pramila Padhi, the woman constable who was assaulted and molested by a mob on September 6 when a Congress rally here turned violent, has resumed duty.

Pramila, 39, who is attached with the Infocity Police Station under the city police, said she resumed work to beat “boredom”.

“I have nearly recovered, but the pain at times still reminds me of that day. I get frequent nightmares,” said the constable, who was rescued from the mob in an unconscious state.

Despite memories of that day haunting her, she said it had not affected her morale. Pramila added that she would not shy away from being posted at rallies to maintain law and order situation.

“Such incidents are part and parcel of our job. I have faced tougher situations in Gajapati district in my initial days. This (the assault) was an unfortunate incident,” said Pramila, who has been in this profession for more than 13 years.

She had to undergo two operations on her right ring finger and left hand. Although, she had taken a severe blow on her head, there were no internal injuries.

“Sometimes when I think hard, I feel the pain in my head. I am still under medical treatment and hope to recover fully soon,” she said.

Pramila was overwhelmed by the affection she received from all quarters in the past three months. Many people, including several politicians, met her at the hospital and home. Even the chairperson of the state commission for women and a member of national commission for women met her after the incident.

“An old man from Uttara area once visited the hospital. Though I did not know him, he treated me as his daughter,” said Pramila, adding that her husband Giridhari Panda, an employee with KIIT University, and 10-year-old son, were her pillars of strength while she was trying to come to terms with the incident.

The Odisha Human Rights Commission on December 6, three months after the incident, awarded her Rs 50,000 following a complaint from former minister Pramila Mallick.

Recalling the events of September 6, Pramila said: “I was returning to the police cordon after escorting Congress leader Bijayalaxmi Sahu to the Congress Bhavan when I was trapped by a mob armed with lathis. They beat me mercilessly.”

Although three months have passed since the incident took place, the police investigation has been stalled after some initial hype. Police circulated photos of 36 people involved in the crime, but could arrest only five.