Sharmili Mallick

Congress activists hurled eggs at the cavalcade of the Odisha Sports Minister Tusharkanti Behera during the latter’s visit to Dumerpadar village under Thuamul Rampur Police Station limits in Kalahandi district on Wednesday.

Raising slogans against CM Naveen Patnaik and the Odisha Government over demands for the removal and arrest of Minister of State for Home Dibya Shankar Mishra for his alleged close proximity with Gobinda Sahu, the prime accused in the sensational Kalahandi schoolteacher Mamita Meher murder case, the Congress activists staged a protest by showing black flags at the Sports Minister.

Behera was on a day-long visit to the village for the distribution of Biju Swasthya Kalyan Yojana (BSKY) smart cards to the beneficiaries, said reports.

The protesting Congress members were taken into custody by the police. Adequate police forces have been deployed in the village in order to maintain law and order situation in view of the Minister’s visit to the region.

Meanwhile, hundreds of members of the Akhil Bharatiya Vidyarthi Parishad (ABVP) were picked up by the police while they took out a rally to gherao Naveen Niwas, the official residence of CM Naveen Patnaik in Bhubaneswar demanding the dismissal of Minister Mishra from the Cabinet. 

Police reportedly stopped them near Sishu Bhawan square. But when the agitating students tried to break the barricades, they were taken into preventive custody.

“Unless the main culprit—Minister Dibya Shankar Mishra-- is removed and arrested, we will not budge. The CM will also have to tender his resignation,” said a member of ABVP. 

Similarly, BJP workers staged protests at several locations between Bhubaneswar and Cuttack ahead of the CM’s visit for the inauguration of an ultra-modern mega Omfed dairy plant at Arilo in Cuttack.

The BJP members reportedly staged demonstrations waving black flags at Arilo, Naraj and Trisulia Chhak in Cuttack reiterating their demand for the removal of Minister Mishra from the Cabinet.

Over 50 workers of the saffron party were taken into custody while they were demonstrating near Trisulia Chhak.

“All BJD leaders are maligned and criminals. Like other cases in the past, the ruling party is trying to suppress Mamita murder case too. The BJP will not allow the BJD leaders and the CM to hold any public meetings or programmes anywhere in the State and stage demonstrations,” said an agitating BJP worker.