Supporters, opponents clash during Koshal bandh

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Sambalpur: Opponents and supporters of a separate Koshal State clashed violently here on Friday after the latter detained the Sambalpur-Puri Intercity Express during the 12-hour bandh called in the western Odisha.

The incident occurred when protesters squatted on the rail tracks and didn’t allow the Sambalpur-Puri Intercity Express to leave the station early in the morning.

When repeated appeals from passengers and opponents of the bandh requesting them not to cause inconvenience to them fell in deaf ears, they started pushing and shoving the protesters, who retaliated in equal measure.

The incident took a violent turn when some aggrieved passengers burnt the banners of the protesters put up on the tacks.

Reports said people in Bhawanipatna and Sambalpur opposed the bandh while schools, shops and business establishments remained closed in Jhasrsuguda. In Bolangir, the protesters picketed to enforce the bandh.

Notably, the Koshal State Coordination Committee comprising representatives of organisations in 10 districts has called a 12-hour bandh in Western Odisha today demanding separate State status for the Koshal region.

Koshalbadi leader of Balangir Pramod Kumar Mishra said, “In 1936 and 1948, the political leaders of Odisha merged our land with the State through a conspiracy. We are demanding a separate State as per the provisions of Article 2 and 3 of the Constitution. The only solution to the problems like regional imbalance, discrimination in education, employment, industrialisation and development is formation of a separate State.”

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