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Vikash Sharma

Bhubaneswar: The heat over Haridaspur Panchayat Executive Officer (PEO), Smitarani Biswal’s death continued to disrupt proceedings of the ongoing winter session of Odisha Assembly with BJP members on Friday staging a symbolic protest by covering their mouths with black cloth.

The saffron party alleged that they are being denied the opportunity to speak and put forth their views in Assembly. The party MLAs even boycotted the all-party meeting convened by Assembly Speaker SN Patro.

Though BJP members removed the black cloth from their mouths on Speaker’s request, they remained seated and observed a peaceful silent protest in the House.

“We will continue our demonstration till the mystery behind lady PEO's death is unravelled,” said Leader of Opposition, Pradipta Naik.

Naik further stated that two samiti members, a zila parishad member and an agent of the Ramco cement company were present in the guest house along with arrested Rupesh Bhadra when Smitarani died. All of them should be booked under IPC section 302.

“We are demanding a CBI probe. The State government should also dismiss Jajpur SP for his statements and State Women Commission chairperson should also be sacked,” Naik added.

Responding to repeated disruptions in the House over the issue, senior ruling-BJD leader Sashi Bhusan Behera said, “Everybody has a democratic right to protest. Speaker is also trying to take steps and urging members to maintain decorum. It is BJP’s internal party decision whether they want to continue with such a strategy.”

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