Odisha Sun Times Bureau
Rourkela, Dec 4:
“Respect for women” might be the favourite war cry of Odisha’s ruling Biju Janata Dal during poll campaigns, but they clearly tend to forget it after winning their support – as evident from the Chief Minister’s meeting at Mangaspur in Sundargarh district today.
In a reckless move that is as shocking as horrendous, the security agencies (including Odisha police) in charge of Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik’s event were today seen forcing women participants to take off their black colour stoles and shawls before entering the meeting venue.
Worse still, this happened in presence of Biju Janata Dal workers and none seemed to question such a move.
Even though many of the women were visibly upset and did protest, some of the women constables were seen pushing and shoving them in a bid to ensure noone uses garments as black flags or use them as a mean to oppose the popular chief minister — in power for 17 years in a row.
It may be mentioned here that the Chief Minister was on a day-long tour of Sundargarh district today during which he dedicated several projects in the district.
In Rourkela, he unveiled a statue of his father Biju Patnaik in BPUT Fitness Park, a ladies hostel, and a building block in the BPUT campus. Later, he dedicated another 24 projects at a public event in Bimalagarh under Banei Assembly constituency. He further dedicated 11 other projects and laid foundation stones for 15 more in the event at Mangaspur – where women were asked to take off the black overclothes.
Earlier in the day “Sachetran Nagarika Mancha’ called for a four-hour-long district-wide bandh opposing the tour of the Chief Minister.
As a precautionary measure, the cops had detained as many as 200 political activists cutting across opposition party lines and social organisations.