Reported by Ranjan Rath
Rayagada, Feb 20:
Normal life was disrupted in Odisha’s Rayagada town today due to a 12-hour dawn-to-dusk bandh called by the Congress demanding the arrest of district collector and the PA, ITDA for the death of District Welfare Officer (DWO) Dhaneswar Prusty, who had committed suicide inside his office on February 17.
Congress workers, led by former Nabarangpur MP Pradip Majhi, staged a road blockade at Kapilash Chhak, Tumbiguda Chhak and Koraput Chhak in the town disrupting vehicular traffic.
The irate workers had a scuffle with the police when they tried to barge into the collector’s office and pelt eggs. They also pelted eggs at the residential office of the collector.
All trading and business establishments remained closed during the bandh.
Extending support to the bandh call, members of the Rayagada District Lawyers’ Association boycotted courts.
The district administration has made elaborate security arrangements deploying additional police force to prevent any untoward incident during the bandh.
“We demand the arrest of the district collector Sashi Bhusan Padhy and PA, ITDA Gorachand Gamang on the basis of the suicide note of the DWO in which he has held these two officials responsible for his death. As per the Indian Penal Code (IPC) provision, the two officials should be treated as abettors and arrested immediately,” Rayagada District Congress Committee (DCC) president Durga Prasad Panda told OST.
The former Nabarangpur MP said the state government is trying to hoodwink the people by ordering a Crime Branch probe into the suicide of Prusty.
“The people are aware of the Crime Branch probe into the Itishree murder case. There has been no action against the culprits, who are roaming freely on the road in broad daylight as the police have provided protection to them. The Crime Branch probe ordered into the DWO suicide case would meet the same fate. Therefore, we demand that either these two officials should be arrested on the basis of the allegation by the wife of the deceased or a CBI probeshould be ordered into the incident. We would continue our agitation till these two officials are arrested,” Majhi said.
Meanwhile, the dharna by district BJP unit, led by its president Tapan Topedar and the party leader Siba Shankar Ulaka, in front of the office of the district Superintendent of Police entered the second day today.
The party has demanded the arrest of the district collector and the PA, ITDA.
Meanwhile, the 12-hour bandh in Gunupur town in the district by the BJP, led by the former local BJP MLA Ramamurty Gamang, also disrupted normal life today.
Taking stock of any untoward incident during the bandh, CRPF personnel have been deployed in the town.