Agitating lawyers burn effigies of Odisha CM

Cuttack: Despite the directive of the Orissa High Court to Crime Branch to complete its probe by November 9 into alleged police assault of lawyer Debi Prasad Patnaik in Cuttack that triggered the two-month-long agitation; advocates today intensified their stir and burnt effigies of Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik at different places across the State.

Sticking to the decision taken at the general body meeting of the High Court Bar Association yesterday, the lawyers today burnt CM’s effigy in front of the sub-Collector’s office in Cuttack.

“As per the decision, we burnt the CM’s effigies in protest at different places,” said Satyabrata Mohanty, Secretary of the High Court Bar Association.

In Jajpur, Bhadrak, Puri, Dhenkanal, Mayurbhanj and Nuapada districts, members of different bar associations also burnt CM’s effigies.

“The State government has not listened to us for past two months. It seems the government has a nexus with criminals,” said Debi Prasad Mohapatra, a member of Balasore Bar Association.

According to sources, the lawyers would decide on the further course of action at a joint meeting of all bar associations tomorrow. Sources said action against convener of the BJD legal front Milan Kanungo, advisor Asim Amitabh Das, former vice president of HC Bar Association Bansidhara Satpathy and State Bar Council chairman Tahali Charan Mohanty might be taken at the meeting tomorrow.

Meanwhile, in Bhadrak, the BJD legal cell, which has withdrawn its support from the agitation, raised slogans against Union Minister Dharmendra Pradhan and burnt his effigy.

Meanwhile, the Bhubaneswar Lawyers’ Association stayed away from burning CM’s effigy while stating that it supports the agitation launched by lawyers, but opposes the manner of the protests as people are suffering due to cease-work strike at the Orissa HC for the past two months.

President of Bhubaneswar Bar Association, Durga Prasad Das said the strike will continue at the Bhubaneswar court today and tomorrow and next course of action will be decided at the general body meeting on Friday, he added.

Following the violent face-off between two groups of lawyers on Monday, Chief Justice of Orissa High Court, KS Jhaveri asked the investigating officer and Crime Branch IG to finish the probe into the alleged assault on the lawyer by November 9 and submit report to sitting judge CR Dash on a daily basis. The court has fixed its next hearing on November 9.

“Everyone is suffering due to the lawyers’ agitation and therefore, we appeal lawyers to resolve the impasse,” said Akhileshvar Singh, Cuttack DCP.