Bhubaneswar: The 12-hour long hartal called by the Odisha unit of BJP that forced public transport to go off the road, has left many commuters on the way to their respective destinations in the lurch. Commuters across the State have faced tough time today as the party workers resorted to road blockade and rail rook at various places to mark the dawn-to-dusk hartal being observed to protest against alleged government apathy towards the Mahakalapada rape and burn victim who died on Thursday night.
BJP members blocked rail track at Bhubaneswar station putting many passengers into immense difficulty. The passengers are found stranded at the stations with their heavy luggage bags on shoulder as many long route trains including Puri-Hatia Tapaswini Express, Puri- Yasavantpur express, Sambalpur and Bolangir Intercity were stopped at the platforms.
“BJP’s overnight decision to observe hartal is really unfair. We cannot reach our destination on time. What does hartal mean? To put common people in difficulty,” a passenger asked at Bhubaneswar railway station.
On the other hand, BJP claimed that people are supporting the hartal. “We are taking the issue of government apathy towards women to common people. Naveen Patnaik has no right to continue. He should quit”, an activist said.
The party members in and around the city blocked the road at different squares including Jayadev Vihar, Master Canteen, Rasulgarh square and Vani Vihar. They stopped all vehicles by picketing. Tyres were also found burnt on the roads at many places to obstruct the vehicles.
Similar situation has been sighted in other cities like Sambalpur, Balasore, Berhampur, Cuttack and Rourkela. Party activists were found sit on the rail tracks and on highways waving placards and shouting anti-government slogans. Some people denied party’s claim that public mass supported them in the state-wide hartal. They said, the party should make such announcement much before so that common people could have prepared.
The commissionerate police have made adequate arrangements for the hartal. Police forces have been deployed at all sensitive points of the city to keep a strict vigil on the activities of the party workers.
On the other hand, BJD condemned such decision of the saffron party. BJD sources said the hartal would not fall any impact on the government.
Notably, BJP State president KV Singhd Deo on Friday announced to observe a 12-hour hartal holding State government responsible for the death of Kendrpara minor girl who was allegedly raped and set ablaze by two youths. Similarly, Odisha Congress has also declared to launch civil disobedience movement on August 20. The party has planned to gherao the State Assembly during the session demanding CM’s resignation.