Sambalpur bandh after BJP leader’s arrest

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Sambalpur: Protesting arrest of former BJP MLA Jayanarayan Mishra, the BJP, Vishwa Hindu Parishad and Bajrang Dal have called a dawn-to-dusk strike in Sambalpur. The bandh was called by BJP, while the Hanuman Jayanti Coordination Committee, VHP and Banjrang Dal have lent their support.

The bandh came into force at 6 AM in the morning. Yesterday, arrested Mishra landed in jail for allegedly wielding a sword during Hanuman Jayanti celebrations in Odisha on Tuesday.

A sub-divisional judicial magistrate’s court in Sambalpur district remanded Mishra to judicial custody after his bail plea was rejected. Earlier on Wednesday, police arrested the former minister for allegedly wielding a sword in violation of prohibitory orders by the administration during Hanuman Jayanti celebrations.

Sambalpur SP Sushil Panigrahi said two separate FIRs have been registered against Mishra at the Town police and Dhanupalli police stations for wielding a sword in the procession, violating the prohibitory order under section 144-A clamped by the district administration. Mishra, however, claimed that he had not done anything wrong and his arrest was part of a political conspiracy.

“We worship swords and other weapons during Durga Puja and Hanuman Jayanti. No one can stop us from doing this in a democratic country. I don’t care for the arrest. Police have arrested me to keep the ruling party happy,” Mishra told mediapersons after he was arrested. Mishra had also manhandled the then deputy superintendent of police of the District Intelligence Bureau during Hanuman Jayanti in 2013. Meanwhile, the state unit of the BJP has thrown its weight behind the former minister demanding immediate withdrawal of cases slapped against him.

“People usually perform such acts during different festivals in India. Performing martial arts is nothing new during processions and celebrations. Police have arrested him only to appease their political bosses,” said Sameer Mohanty, BJP spokesperson.

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