Bhubaneswar: At least 50 persons, including women, were injured when private college teachers and security personnel fought a pitched battle in front of the Odisha assembly in Bhubaneswar on Friday, the police said.
The Mahatma Gandhi Marg virtually turned into a battlefield after the police used water canon and tear gas shells and finally lathicharged in its bid to restrict the teachers who marched towards the assembly building.
"The police used water canon, tear gas shells to disperse the agitating teachers who broke the barricade. We have chased them away to maintain law and order situation in the area," Deputy Commissioner of Police Nitinjit Singh said.
Singh claimed that some security personnel were also injured in the incident as the teachers pelted stones on them. The police have taken about 200 people into custody and allegedly demolished the temporary camp of the agitating teachers at one end of Mahatma Gandhi Marg.
"The police beat me up without any provocation. I had come here seeking justice and not to get beaten up by Naveen Patnaik's police," said Geeta Mohapatra, a woman teacher of Jagtsinghpur district.
The teachers and employees of 1150 private colleges had been agitating for 80 days demanding repeal of block-grant system of payment and implementation of grant-in-aid mode of salary for a long time. Teachers were being paid Rs 5,000 odd per month which is less than the salary of a peon, the teachers said.
Though the government had assured them to fulfil the demand, it was not met. They resorted to civil disobedience movement today, said Anta Charan Acharya, a functionary of the agitating teachers association.