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Vikash Sharma

Mounting attack on the Odisha government, Opposition party members hurled eggs at Odisha Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik’s carcade near Hospital Chhak in Puri while he was returning after laying the foundation stone for the ambitious Srimandir Heritage Corridor Project in the pilgrim town on Wednesday.

Despite heavy deployment of police and security personnel in anticipation of such a scenario, the Opposition activists were able to break the cordon before showing black flags and hurled eggs at the CM’s carcade, taking everyone by surprise.

As per preliminary reports, three youths were involved in the protest. “Eggs were pelted by us. Black flags also waived by us. Wherever the CM goes, Bharatiya Janata Yuva Morcha (BJYM) will agitate. If ‘tainted’ minister Dibya Shankar Mishra is not expelled or no action is taken against him, the protests will continue,” said BJYM, Odisha president Irasis Acharya.

It is pertinent to mention here that over 20 platoons of police force were deployed for security arrangements in view of the CM’s scheduled visit to Puri.

Patnaik was also greeted with black flags on his arrival in Puri for the Shilanayas ceremony of the Srimandir Parikrama project earlier during the day. As per reports, two youths managed to sneak through the security cover and came in front of the CM’s carcade by jumping over the temporary barricades near the Grand Road (Badadanda).

They raised slogans against the Chief Minister before the security personnel overpowered them. Sources said later another youth also joined the protest. Police subsequently took the trio into preventive custody.

During the CM’s programme, Congress activists also staged a demonstration at Puri over a 7-point charter of demands including installation of a Dasavataar idol at Puri temple and reopening of Ratna Bhandar. A brief scuffle between the Congress activists and police personnel reportedly broke out.

The activists managed to reach Singhadwar and later submitted a memorandum to the Additional SP. “The entire Puri town has been turned into a fortress and we staged a peaceful demonstration demanding restoration of civic rights of the residents. No step has been taken so far to protect the interest of the people despite the government collecting taxes from people,” alleged a Congress activist.

Earlier, eggs were hurled at the vehicle of Minister Bikram Arukh near Malatipatapur while he was on his way to Puri to attend the mega event today.

It is suspected that the egg attack on the Minister was a mark of protest against the State government which has been accused of dragging its feet over the investigation into the murder of Kalahandi lady teacher Mamita Meher. BJP activists too showed black flags to Minister Arukh and later purified the Badadanda by sprinkling cow dung water.

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