“Assaulting” cop vs. “lawless” state: BJP, BJD in war of words a day after Odisha Opposition Leader was arrested for “assaulting” a cop.

A woman police officer in Sambalpur, Odisha, filed a complaint against senior BJP legislator Jayanarayan Mishra for allegedly assaulting and threatening her. The next day, on Thursday, both the ruling Biju Janata Dal (BJD) and the opposition BJP held protests.

Mishra, who is a member of the Assembly and represents Sambalpur, has denied the claim. He has also accused the person who filed the complaint, Anita Pradhan, IIC of the Dhanupali police station in the district, of roughing him up during a BJP protest on Wednesday.

On Thursday, the BJD women’s wing held protest marches all over Odisha. They wanted Mishra to be removed from his position as Leader of Opposition in the Assembly. Meanwhile, the opposition party held a rally near Raj Bhavan in the state capital to protest what they said was a worsening law and order situation in the state.

Mishra said that a group of “BJD goons” went to the Circuit House in Sambalpur on Thursday to attack him, but “luckily, I was not there.”

During their protest, the BJD women’s wing burned an effigy of Mishra. Shreemayee Mishra, who works for the party, said again that Mishra has been charged in 14 cases and is free on bail in a murder case. She said that either Mishra should step down as Leader of the Opposition or the BJP should ask him to step down.

D Purendeswari, a leader of the BJP, said that Mishra is being set up in false cases because he goes against the government on many different issues. “The way he was being treated by a female police officer shows that not even the Leader of the Opposition is safe in Odisha. Purendeswari said that the state government should make sure he is safe right away.

BJP national vice-president Baijayant Panda, who also joined the dharna, said, “Who is running the state? There is no rule of law in Odisha, so crimes against women are going up.” It’s now clear that Naveen Patnaik is not the Chief Minister. So, we want him (the CM) to step down.”

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