Malkangiri: Police opened fire in self defence after being attacked by a crowd at Bejangawada, a Maoist stronghold in Malkangiri district.
"Police opened 14 rounds of fire in the air in self defence last night after being attacked by the crowd", Superintendent of police, Akhileswar Singh said here.
The annual `Makar Mela`, a festival coinciding with `Pongal` was being held at Bejangawada, a Maoist stronghold with congregation of thousands of people from Odisha and neighbouring Chhattisgarh and Andhra Pradesh when the incident took place last night.
Suspecting presence of Maoists in the crowd and to thwart any possible attempt to mar the occasion, policemen of district voluntary force (DVF) in plainclothes were maintaining strict vigil on the proceedings.
The DVF personnel nabbed one Padia Madkami from among the crowd suspecting him to be a Maoist.
To protest the police action, relations of Madkami and local people allegedly pelted stones in which some policemen were reportedly injured.
In the face of unabated brickbatting , police resorted to open fire and the people ran helter skelter, the SP said.
Police had told the agitating people that Madkami would be let off after interrogation but it fell in deaf ears and they had no option but to open fire, he said.
Madkami was taken to the nearby Orkel police station for interrogation and if found innocent he would be released, Singh said.