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Violence mars BJD-sponsored ‘peaceful’ hartal

Bhubaneswar, September 18, 2017: The scale of street hooliganism during Monday’s BJD-sponsored bandh protesting the rising prices of petrol, diesel and cooking gas left the people of the State stunned amid the assurance of the ruling party that the hartal would be a ‘peaceful’ one. 

Bandh-enforcers armed with sticks and rods attacked cars, two wheelers, auto-rickshaws and snatched drivers’ keys and blocked traffic at various major routes and squarers across Odisha diametrically opposite to that of party's ‘peaceful’ five-hour ‘hak for hartal’ (protest for rights).

Protestors were seen attacking women and disallowing ambulances to ferry patients to hospitals. In almost all major junctions of the State, particularly in State capital Bhubaneswar, the bandh-enforces blocked road by buring tyres. They also observed rail rook.  

However, the BJD termed the violence as an outburst of public against the price hike of petroleum products resulting in the price rise of essential commodities.

“It was the result of the public outburst. Neither BJD nor its president and Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik believes in violence,” argued BJD vice-president Debi Prasad Mishra at a news conference at the party State headquarters after the five-hour bandh ended at 12 noon.

Senior BJD leader Baijayant Panda too condemned the way his party workers indulged in violence. The Lok Sabha member took to the social media to condemn the shameful act of the BJD ‘goons’.

Posting a photo where the BJD workers were seen obstructing an ambulance to pass by during five-hour the hartal, Panda tweeted, “Shameful. I dissociate from & condemn this (I can’t on party’s behalf since I’m no longer the spokesperson). These goons must face action,” tweeted Panda.

“This isn't the party I assisted NP to found 20yrs ago. I'm ashamed & angered by this. Biju babu wd've been too. Armchair strategists must go,” Panda further tweeted.

Union Petroleum and Natural Gas Minister Dharmendra Pradhan too condemned the hooliganism of the BJD and demanded stern legal action against the hooligans.  

The BJD observed a State-wide five-hour peaceful hartal between 7 am and 10 noon today to protest the rising prices of petrol, diesel and cooking gas across the country. However, the hartal turned out to only be a farce as the protestors attacked the commuters and even did not spare ambulance, patients, women and elderly people.

Meanwhile, DGP Dr Rajendra Prasad Sharma said that the BJD-sponsored hartal ended peacefully raising many eyebrows.

On the other hand, protesting against the goondagiri unleashed by the ruling dispensation in the State in the name of ‘hak pain hartal’ today, the Odisha Bharatiya Janata Yuva Morcha, the youth wing of the BJP announced to gherao Superintendent of Police (SP) offices across the State on Tuesday.

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