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Spectator cop suspended

Bhubaneswar, Dec. 11: A policeman was suspended and five persons arrested today following bloody clashes between two private bus owners’ associations yesterday.

Tension ran high at Baramunda bus stand for the second day today following the clashes in which at least seven persons were injured.

Passengers had a horrifying day today as they were uncertain whether they would be able to find their desired buses.

Worse, the bus owners’ association decided in the afternoon to stop operations. The decision was reversed in the evening following police assurance to take action against the goons involved in yesterday’s attack.

The goons also ransacked Capital Hospital, where some of those injured in the attack at Baramunda were admitted.

“I had to travel with my family to Bhanja Nagar, my native place. But after coming here I found that bus operations had been suspended. I don’t know what to do now,” said Ramesh Chandra Biswal, a teacher.

Members of the Rajdhani Bus Owners’ Association and Bhubaneswar Bus Owners’ Association held a meeting with police officials this afternoon. The spokesperson for the State Bus Owners’ Association, Debashis Nayak said some thugs were creating trouble for passengers and owners at the bus stand, but police took no action despite repeated complaints.

“We want the authorities to take stern action against the thugs who injured our people and ransacked seven buses last night, terrifying the passengers. The authorities assured us of action and we ended our strike,” said Nayak.

Acting on three cases registered at Capital and Khandagiri police stations, the city police arrested five persons in connection with the clash at the bus stand and ruckus at Capital Hospital.

A dispute between two private bus owners’ associations over taking passengers and the timing of buses plying turned violent on Monday.

The passengers, an unarmed assistant sub-inspector and other policemen had to run for their lives. Later, ASI Satrughna Behera, was suspended from duty on charges of negligence. He didn’t take any action when the goons went on a rampage.

Twin city police commissioner Sunil Roy said the police would take stern action against those who had indulged in violence at the bus stand and the hospital. When told that most of those involved in the clashes were criminals, he said they would be booked under stricter laws.