Keonjhar: At least 20 people, including a Block Development Offier (BDO) and seven cops, were injured in a clash when villagers near Anandpur protesting construction of a bridge over a river in the area turned violent, officials said.
Angry over efforts to start the bridge construction at the proposed site on river Kosei on NH-215, a large number of residents of Belabahali confronted the police force already deployed in the area, Anandpur Sub-Collector Maheswar Swain said.
When the police personnel tried to disperse the protesters, the villagers fought a pitched battle throwing stones and bricks and using sticks, he said.
At least 20 persons including seven police personnel were injured in the clash, Swain said.
The BDO of Anandpur sustained injury in the incident, he said.
Agitated villagers also torched a camp of a construction company and some vehicles and equipment at the site, he said.
Senior police officials rushed to the area where more than 450 police personnel were deployed to prevent further flare up and restore normalcy.
More than 50 protesters have been taken into custody, the sub-collector said.
The situation in the area was tense but under control and the injured have been sent to hospitals for treatment, Swain said.
The villagers have been opposing the bridge construction over the river at the proposed site as part of the expansion of National Highway 215.
Demonstrations and dharnas have also been held by the residents in the last seven months demanding that the location of the bridge be shifted.
Talks were also held between locals and the administration on the issue but no concrete outcome had emerged yet.