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Rajendra Prasad Mohapatra

The Odisha Pradesh Congress claimed that Friday’s six-hour State-wide ‘hartal’, called to press the demand for the removal of Odisha MoS (Home) Dibya Shankar Mishra for his alleged role in the murder of Kalahandi lady teacher Mamita Meher, was a success.

 

As per reports, the ‘hartal’ across the State from 6 am to 12 noon passed off peacefully. Normal life was partially affected even as shops and business establishments remained open and public transport continued to operate in most of the places across the State.

 
With the Orissa High Court saying ‘no’ to the original plan of Congress to hold a full-fledged bandh, party activists were seen pleading with people to down their shutters and stay indoors across the State. Some of the Congress activists were even seen distributing chocolates to people in a bid to seek their cooperation for the ‘hartal’. Party workers were seen holding placards and raising slogans demanding the resignation of Mishra.

 

 
“Our six-hour statewide ‘hartal’ was successful. We didn’t force and prevent anyone from moving. We only requested them to co-operate. People supported the ‘hartal’ voluntarily and it was a success,” said Congress senior leader Tara Prasad Bahinipati.

 
Meanwhile, Congress Working President Chiranjib Biswal said that the party will intensify its protests demanding justice for the family of Mamita.

 
“Congress workers observed the ‘hartal’ successfully according to the order of the High Court. We communicated about the order of the Court to our grassroots workers in a very short span of time and the ‘hartal’ was observed accordingly,” said Biswal in a press conference.

 
“Our protests will continue until the expulsion of Mishra from the cabinet. If required, Congress will move High Court seeking justice for Mamita,” he said.

 
On the other hand, ruling BJD leaders called the ‘hartal’ anarchic.

 

“The ‘hartal’ called by Congress is not justified at all. Opposition parties are calling bandhs in the State frequently without any justified reason and as a result, the common people are suffering. People across Odisha have not extended their support to the ‘hartal’ at all,” said Transport Minister Padmanabha Behera.

 
“Law is taking its own course in Mamita murder case and even the family of the victim has endorsed it. There is no reason for the Opposition parties to stage protests,” said Behera.

 
Meanwhile, Bhubaneswar DCP Umashankar Dash said the ‘hartal’ had been peaceful and no untoward incident was reported from anywhere in the Capital city. There were no reports of violence from any other place in the state either.

“Few activists have been detained for trying to block vehicular traffic in some parts of the State. Action will be taken against them as per the order of the Supreme Court,” said Dash.

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