Mrunal Manmay Dash

Some fringe outfits and pressure groups of western Odisha brought the Manoj Mishra ban protest to Jharsuguda on Wednesday as they burnt effigies of actors Anubhav Mohanty and Arindam Roy under the Gandhi idol in the city.

As per reports, they were protesting the ban which some Ollywood producers have enforced on actor Manoj Mishra for two years after Arindam starrer movie Ram was taken down from the theatres in Sambalpur recently. The producers accused Manoj Mishra of instigating people to boycott ‘Ram’ in Sambalpur due to his personal strife with actor Jitu Mangaraj.

“Those producers and actors are currently going through an existential crisis. They want to be in the limelight all the time. That is why they have raked up this issue. And they think banning an actor from western Odisha will give them enough opportunity to work,” said Coordinator of Paschimanchal Ekata Manch.

Akash Kalet, Jharsuguda district president of Koshal Sena said, “We have launched this protest because a film and an actor belonging to western Odisha have been banned by the film industry. This is a protest about our regional integrity and a fight for our language. We will boycott Odia movies all over western Odisha.”

Koshal Sena had also staged a protest at Bhawanipatna and Bargarh on Sunday demanding immediate lifting of the ban on Manoj Mishra. The agitators burnt posters of several Odia films and demanded Anubhav Mohanty to beg an apology for his comments.

Politicising the controversy, Congress leader Narasingha Mishra had extended his support to Manoj Mishra and said that entire Odisha would be divided into two parts if the ban on the actor was not revoked immediately.