Mrunal Manmay Dash

A scuffle broke out between Mahila Congress members and police in Bhubaneswar on Wednesday after they were stopped while marching towards Naveen Niwas, the official residence of Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik.

As per reports, the Congress members took out a protest march to Naveen Niwas led by All India Mahila Congress president Alka Lamba and Odisha Mahila Congress president Minakshi Bahinipati over rising cases of violence against women in the State.

Congress members allegedly tried to remove and jump barricades put up by the police leading to a scuffle with the police personnel.

Before the march, Lamba lambasted Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik and Odisha government on Wednesday during her visit to Bhubaneswar.

Addressing a Mahila Congress meeting in Bhubaneswar, Lamba said, “This is just the beginning. I will reach women in every district and village of Odisha. I am warning this government to reduce inflation, reduce unemployment and stop torturing our women, otherwise these women will topple your government.”

“Our issues are many—from unemployment to farmer issues and violence against women. Mission Shakti is a drama by BJD. Congress is not like them. We are honest and disciplined,” said Bahinipati during the protest march.

Speaking about the Mahila Congress meeting, OPCC Chief Sharat Patnaik said, “Members of Women Congress from across Odisha have congregated here with the leadership of Minakshi Bahinipati. Naveen Patnaik government has been beating its own trumpet over women's empowerment. But within his 24 years of rule, women are being harassed every day.”

“It is really unfortunate that women are subjected to torture in our State. From SHGs to teachers, women from all spectrums of society are forced to stage dharna on the road demanding their rights. The law and order situation has nose-dived. While the government is providing Rs 5 lakh loans to the SHGs, it makes them repay the loan with interest as well,” the Congress chief said.

Senior Congress leader and Jatni MLA, Suresh Routray said, “Our women's organisation in Odisha will get more teeth after the visit of Alka Lamba and with the leadership of Minakshi Bahinipati. 13,000 girls have been missing under the rule of Naveen Patnaik in the last 24 years. Women in Odisha will ask for answers on 7000 rapes and murders of women in the State at the Naveen Niwas.”

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