BHUBANESWAR: Violence erupted at Kalinga Institute of Social Sciences (KISS) here on Sunday following a scuffle between a group of its students with some senior citizens and mediapersons. A TV journalist, Raghunath Sahoo, sustained head injuries.
While the journalists said they were attacked unprovoked when they were covering a demonstration by locals against alleged land grab by KISS, the tribal students said the scribes hurled abuses on them, called them by their caste when requested not to video-record life at the girls' hostels.
Following the fight, a section of journalists staged a road blockade at Patia Square while KISS students laid seize to the road in front of Infocity police station demanding action against each other.
Sahoo, who works for a private news channel, said he along with two of his colleagues went to cover the demonstration at KISS against land grab. "The students and some of their outside supporters attacked me with an iron rod. They also damaged our vehicle and detained my cameraman colleague for hours," he said.
The agitating students had a different tale to share. "We were playing when some TV journalists barged into our premises. They started shooting the girls' hostel activities. When we requested them to stop, they abused us," a student alleged. Police said they have received complaints from both sides. "We are inquiring to ascertain the truth," said DCP Nitinjeet Singh.
KISS authorities said they are trying to ascertain the exact sequence of events. "Sunday being a holiday, not many staff members were present. We are trying to find out what exactly happened," said a KISS spokesperson.
Several tribal organizations have thrown their weight behind KISS, claiming that a misinformation campaign had been launched against the institute by bringing false allegations of land grab against it. "While the state government has snatched thousands of acres of tribal land to give it to companies, the only such exclusive school for tribals in Odisha is being targeted on false charges. We will fight to save it from closing down, said Iswar Naik, a tribal leader from Rayagada. On Friday, representatives of eight tribal organizations held a news conference here to defend KISS against the false campaign.