Bhubaneswar/ Rayagada: Condemning large-scale violence in the name of agitation at Indian Metals & Ferro Alloys Ltd (IMFA) plant at Therubali in Rayagada, the district Tribal Union on Friday alleged that such kind of protests are being carried out under 'pressure' of the ruling party.
The statements of the tribal union has further reinforced the allegations levelled by BJP leader Jayaram Pangi who had suspected the involvement of 3rd floor and CM Naveen Patnaik's private secretary VK Pandian behind the ongoing protests at IMFA's plant.
The sponsored strike by locals in front of IMFA's plant at Therubali entered its fifth day while the employees and their families who are stranded inside the plant are in a state of panic.
It is pertinent to note that IMFA authorities have been attempting to end the impasse by holding talks with agitators in presence of district administration officials. However, that has not yet materialized.
People are afraid after 4 days of threats and intimidation, so we urge for a meeting inside our premises or in Collector's office and not amid the mob as protestors are carrying weapons as shown on TV, said MD & CEO of IMFA, Subhrakant Panda in a tweet.
"The demonstration is motivated by the ruling party. Tribals do not back such kind of violent protests. I request my tribal brothers and sisters to launch protest in a democratic manner," said Association President Aleswami Kadraka.
Kadraka said that the Association was not consulted before the launch of strike. "Some of the members contacted us only after they had started the agitation," he informed.
Protestors did not seek our permission before launching the demonstration and it is being carried out at the behest of the ruling party, our Union will not support such violence, said District Tribal Union Convener Basanta Ullaka while condemning the protests.
While responding to a Twitterati on the ongoing agitation at IMFA plant, Kendrapara MP Baijayant Panda wrote, " True. I'm ready to face any political opposition, but violent non-local protestors confining women & children inside their housing complex (today is the 5th day!), with police & district administration refusing to intervene. It's sickening. & tragic that national media ignores."
Senior BJD leader Damodar Rout said that Police must intervene and arrest the outside elements who are instigating the protest. "It is the duty of the Police to ensure law and order," he said.
Congress Chief Whip Tara Prasad Bahinipati said that the Chief Minister should immediately intervene in the matter. "Those roaming around with weapons and arms must been immediately taken into custody,"said Bahinipati.
Later today, IMFA authorities, citing that agitators are moving with deadly weapons, wrote a letter to the Block Development Officer-cum-Executive Magistrate, Rayagada stating, "We are agreeable to a meeting anywhere in the presence of the District Magistrate or at the Collectorate (even without presence of District Magistrate) or in our premises. The Collectorate should certainly be acceptable as neutral venue to all concerned."