Pramila Padhi, a female constable from Bhubaneswar City Police who was beaten up during a clash between police and Congress workers at Mahatma Gandhi Marg on Thursday, lodged a police complaint on Friday alleging that a mob molested her and misbehaved with her during the rally. Padhi is admitted to a private city hospital with fractures and injuries. Police said basing on Padhi's complaint, a case had been registered at Capital police station under sections 307 (attempt to murder), 147 (rioting), 148 (rioting, armed with deadly weapon), 332 (voluntarily causing hurt), 333 (causing grievous hurt), 336 (endangering lives of others), 337 (causing hurt), 353 (assault), 354 (outraging modesty), 431 (mischief by injury), 437 (mischief to destroy), 120B (criminal conspiracy) of the IPC and section 3 and 4 of Prevention of Destruction of Public Property (PDPP) Act.
Recollecting Thursday's horrible experience, 39-year-old Padhi said, "I was left alone amidst the mob when about 30 men dragged and pushed me. They started misbehaving with me and hit me on my private parts. They kicked me and slapped me. I looked for help but could not find any cop around. Then I tried to run away, but they followed me with sticks and bamboos." Padhi's husband Girdhari Panda said, "Doctors say she is out of danger but her injuries will take about a month to heal."
Asked whether the tortured female officer was molested by the mob, ACP (zone-1) Nihar Das said, "The way she, along with some other woman police personnel was pushed and nudged, amounts to outraging modesty (section 354 of IPC). We have lodged cases accordingly." Meanwhile, chairperson of the State Commission for Women (SCW) Jyoti Panigrahi took suo motto cognizance of the incident and visited Padhi in the hospital. "We have started a probe into the mater. The manner in which the woman police person was heckled when she was doing her duty and assaulted is really condemnable. We would suggest strict action against those who are directly and indirectly responsible for misbehaving the woman," Panigrahi said, adding she would submit a report to the government on the matter soon.
"Police should have sent male police personnel to face the mob," Congress whip Prasad Harichandan said, while regretting the attack on Padhi. AICC general secretary Jagdish Tytler, too, condemned the attack on Padhi, but said: "It was Congress workers, not policemen, who rescued the woman constable." Police officers said they deployed female cops as a large number of Women political workers also participated in the rally. President, Biju Mahila Janata Dal, Pramila Mallik, in turn, accused Congress men of molesting Padhi. "It is highly condemnable. If they had come for a peaceful protest, why did they indulge in such vandalism? Most of them were drunk. We demand stringent action against the culprits," said the Binjharpur MLA.