Sambalpur collector alleges molestation bid by lawyers

Sambalpur district collectorMrinalini Darswal has said in her complaint lawyers had attempted to outrage her modesty during Monday’s mayhem before police rescued her. The lawyers, on the other hand, have denied the allegations and decided to observe “Sambalpur Bandh” on Wednesday in protest against the incident and demanding the ouster of the collector.

“They (lawyers) were prevented from physically manhandling and molesting me by additional superintendent of police D K Deo who arrived at the spot at that moment,” the district collector wrote in her complaint lodged with the town police station.

“They threatened to molest me publicly and to parade me on the roads to teach me a lesson,” she has added.

Darswal has named 16 lawyers in her complaint. She said the lawyers had chased her and started pelting stones at her. “Some of these (stones) hit me at my head, stomach, back and other body parts. Some of them tried to grab me from behind,” she complained, adding “they threatened to lynch me and set me on fire.”

The collector has also stated that the lawyers called her a Maoist. “They threw chairs at me and kicked me and blocked my way so that they could assault me physically,” she wrote.

The collector has also mentioned in her FIR that she was worried about her two children who were extremely scared by the attack of the lawyers who damaged her vehicles and property by hurling stones and bricks.

The lawyers, however, refuted the collector’s allegations. “No one ever uttered any such word as molestation. Rather, she abused us by using all possible fifthly language for we demanded an apology in public for using such words on lawyers,” Sambalpur Bar president Pramod Rath said on Tuesday.

Police booked the lawyer under sections 147 (rioting), 149 (unlawful assembly), 341 (wrongful restraint), 342 (wrongful confinement), 332 (voluntarily causing hurt), 294 (obscene act), 336 (endangering life), 307 (attempt to murder), 355 (assault with intent to dishonour a person), 427 (mischief), 452 (house trespass after assault), 506 (criminal intimidation) of the Indian Penal code. Police also registered a case against the collector under sections 448 (house trespass) of the IPC and the SC/ST Act, based on the lawyers’ complaint.

Meanwhile, the lawyers organized a bike rally “to make people aware of their concern for the district.” “Everyone knows how lawyers are fighting for the people’s cause,” Rath said on Tuesday. The members of the bar association have also convened an all-party meeting.

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