Opposition demands Odisha CM’s apology

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Bhubaneswar: The Odisha Assembly on Monday witnessed unruly scenes as the opposition demanded an apology from Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik for apparent disregard for women by the police at a rally on the previous day.

The opposition Congress and BJP alleged that police were disrespectful towards women when they forced them to take off black-coloured stoles and shawls at the Sunday rally of the Chief Minister in Sundargarh.

As soon as Question Hour began, there was pandemonium in the house.

Leader of Opposition Narasingh Mishra said it was unfortunate that women were “tortured and harassed” by police at the Chief Minister’s meeting.

“Items of women’s clothes were taken off with the direction or the knowledge of the Chief Minister, on the pretext of providing security. The police harassed these women at the rally. This is really painful and unfortunate,” said Mishra.

He said the Chief Minister should apologise for the incident.

Opposition chief whip Tara Prasad Bahinipati said the Chief Minister, who claimed to have great respect for women, insulted the “mothers” at his rally.

BJP member Pradeep Purohit said the Chief Minister was so “paranoid” about black clothes and flags that the officials resorted to this action against women.

BJP President Basant Panda said his party would hold demonstrations at the block and urban local bodies-level on Tuesday protesting against the state government.

The ruling Biju Janata Dal, however, reacted cautiously over the issue.

“No woman has made any complaint yet. Police were performing their duty for VVIP security as per protocol,” said BJD MLA Amar Satapathy.

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