Mahila Congress activists scuffle with cops during attempt to gherao Naveen Niwas

Bhubaneswar: Tension ran high after scores of Mahila Congress activists tried to storm into Naveen Niwas, the official residence of Odisha Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik in Bhubaneswar today. Wearing masks of newly appointed AICC general secretary for Uttar Pradesh (East), Priyanka Gandhi Vadra, the Mahila Congress activists scuffled with police while trying to gherao the Naveen Niwas as a mark of protest against rising incidents of rape and other crimes against women in Odisha.

Alleging that the Odisha government has failed to put a check on the incidents of rape and other atrocities against women and girls, Mahila Congress activists hurled eggs and staged a demonstration carrying black balloons.

The Mahila Congress had sought a clarification from the chief minister by February 14 on the rising incidents of crime against women and had threatened to gherao Naveen Niwas. Targeting the Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik, who is in charge of the Home Department, the Mahila Congress had also sought the resignation of Patnaik.

“We had given time to Chief Minister to meet us and as we did not receive any reply, we staged the demonstration,” said Mahila Congress chief, Sumitra Jena.

BJD spokesperson Sasmit Patra on the other hand claimed that Congress has no moral right to speak on women’s safety, as people of the country very well know what they have done in the past 60 years.

“Be it Mission Shakti or any other welfare activities, Odisha CM Naveen Patnaik has always given priority to women and their empowerment. All the allegations levelled by Mahila Congress are completely baseless,” said Patra.