Condemning police action on 'peaceful demonstrators' as 'barbaric', Odisha Pradesh Congress Committee president Niranjan Patnaik claimed that over 400 party workers including women were injured in lathicharge and force used by cops.
"Police action was unwarranted at a time when senior leaders were addressing the workers who were protesting against the corrupt and inefficient BJD government in a democratic manner," Patnaik and Narsingh Mishra, media cell chairman of the state Congress, told reporters here.
The Congress leaders sought to know as to who directed use of teargas, water cannon and batons against protesters who had not even tried to enter the area where prohibitory orders under Sec 144 are in force.
Describing the use of force by police as a move to suppress popular voice and democratic methods of protest, the PCC chief announced an "Odisha bandh" on Monday.
The Congress leaders also demanded an independent investigation either by Lokpal or a sitting judge of the High Court into alleged police excesses against partymen.
Senior Congress leader Soumya Ranjan, who was injured in the incident, claimed that police used force as they were not prepared well to handle the surging crowd when thousands of Congress workers from across the state gathered.