Rashmi Rekha Das

Kacheri Chhak in Sambalpur district turned into a battlefield on Monday after a scuffle broke out between policemen and lawyers, who have been demanding setting up of the permanent High Court bench in the district. 

The scuffle ensued between police and lawyers when the latter tried to enter the court premises by breaking the police barricade. 

According to sources, lawyers have launched a Satyagraha to press for their demands. The agitators were seen playing different traditional musical instruments as part of their protest.

During the protest, the lawyers tried to break the barricades put up by police and enter the court premises. When police intervened, a clash erupted between police and the lawyers, police sources revealed.

Meanwhile, several organisations such local Bus Owners’ Association, Nagarika Committee, Cultural Association and several Business Associations have extended their support to the lawyers’ body.  

The road leading Adalat road from Kacheri Chhak has been encroached upon by the protestors. 

Keeping the intensity of the protest in mind, police have tightened security arrangements in order to avoid any untoward incident.  Besides, more police forces have been deployed at Kacheri Chhak to keep things under control. 

President of Sambalpur Lawyers’ Association said, “Common people have lost their faith in state government as it delayed in taking any concrete decision in this regard. The Orissa High Court has also kept mum over the issue. You can see people irrespective of caste, creed and profession have joined us. Youths, farmers, businessmen, entrepreneurs, transgenders, artistes and labourers have joined our Satyagraha.”

He further added: “The state government has forced Sambalpur residents who are peaceful by nature to take law into their hands and demand to make Western Odisha a separate state.”

“Media report claims that we have burnt the effigy of Supreme Court Chief Justice. We genuinely honour the Chief Justice. We have not burnt the effigy of Chief Justice but burnt the effigy of advocate general because he had misguided the Supreme Court”, he signed off. 
“We have been protesting for setting up of a High Court bench in Sambalpur for a long time. We are fed up with the indifferent attitude of the state government and the Centre towards us,” said another protesting lawyer.

Earlier, the Supreme Court expressed its anger after learning that court works have been affected badly due to lawyers’ protests over the setting up of High Court benches in the State.

“It is not feasible to set up High Court benches in every district. It is not humanly possible to set up so many High Court benches in all districts. It is not possible practically and infrastructure-wise. It is not prudent. Bihar is a big state but it has one High Court at Patna”, the bench stated.

On the other hand, lawyers at Sundargarh staged a sit-in outside the office to press for the same demands.