The Congress on Friday said it was sorry for the assault on a woman constable during its rally in Bhubaneswar as the name of All India Congress Committee in-charge of Odisha Jagadish Tytler came up.
Narrating her experience, the woman constable said, "About 30 to 40 youths attacked me, showered blows, kicked me from back as soon as Jagdish Tytler called on party workers to break the barricade."
Defending Tytler, Congress Chief Whip Prasad Harichandan said that Tytler had asked the partymen to come forward for jail bharo. "He did not instigate violence," he said.
"I do not think calling upon partymen to court arrest is any crime or instigation," the Congress Chief Whip said.
"This is an unfortunate incident. We are sorry for the assault on the lady constable. Women police should not be deployed at the forefront. We demand action against senior police officers responsible for deployment of women at sensitive places," he said after party MLAs boycotted the assembly.
Leader of Opposition Bhupinder Singh of Congress sought to give a different spin saying "All people present at the rally were not Congress activists. Some people, who are angry over the Biju Janata Dal government's misrule, may have assaulted the woman constable."
Tytler, on the other hand, told a news channel that it was wrong to assault a woman. "There is a bid to defame us in public. The incident has proved that Naveen Patnaik is incapable of giving good governance."
Admitting that the woman constable was manhandled at Thursday's rally, Harichandan said, "One must thank Congress workers who saved her."
Senior BJD MLA Pradip Maharathy demanded arrest of Tytler for attempting to create a '1984 Sikh riot like situation here'.
"I can produce evidence of Tytler instigating people at the rally," he said.
BJD women's wing president Pramila Mallick, who met the lady constable in hospital demanded Tytler's arrest for instigating the mob to attack women security personal.
"We will stage a dharna tomorrow demanding arrest of the persons responsible for attack on the lady constable and other policemen," Mallick said.
BJP Legislature Party Leader K V Singhdeo said: "If any leader who used provocative words which instigated the people, needs to be booked."
Meanwhile, the Odisha Human Rights Commission issued notice to the Deputy Commissioner of Police, Bhubaneswar, to submit a report on the attack on the constable.
A Congress delegation also met Governor M CBhandare demanding a judicial injury into the episode.