Reported by Simanchal Pattanaik
Phulbani, Feb 28:
The 12-hour Kandhamal bandh called by the Vishwa Hindu Parishad (VHP) in protest against the refusal of the Odisha government to allow the party’s international working president Pravin Togadia to enter the district evoked total response today.
While vehicular traffic came to a standstill, all trade and business establishments, banks, government offices including the collector’s office were also closed.
Apart from the district headquarters, the bandh was also total in Daringbadi and Raikia areas.
Reports raeching from other parts of the district said armed police forces were frisking vehicles at several places in Madhapur, Kalinga, Tumudibandh, Kotagada and Khajuripada to stop the entry of VHP leaders to the district.
Besides, four platoons of armed police forces, led by DIG Amitabh Thakur, have been deployed at Chari Chhak in Boudh bordering the district to stop the entry of VHP activists from outside the district.
Talking to OST, Kandhamal collector N Thirumala Nayak said the district administration has taken all possible measures to ward off any untoward incident during the bandh. “Adequate security has been provided to all churches in the district,” he said.
He also said the annual High School Certificate (HSC) examinations have been going on smoothly in all parts of the district despite the bandh.
“The bandh has not affected health services either as VHP activists have allowed emergency ambulance services in all parts of the district,” he added.
VHP ’s Kandhamal unit leader Bhagaban Mohanty expressed his profound gratitude to the people for their unstinted support in making the bandh a total success.
Supporting the VHP, the district BJP unit has also joined the bandh call, said Deba Narayan Pradhan, secretary of the Kandhamal BJP unit.
This is for the first time that the VHP activists have refrained from burning tyres during the road blockade.
“Keeping the environment aspect in view, we have staged picketing at several places and distributed leaflets among the people explaining the stand of our party on the bandh call,” said a local VHP leader.