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Odisha Sun Times Bureau
Bhubaneswar, Jun 30:

The Congress today called for a bandh in undivided KBK districts –Koraput, Nabarangpur, Malkangiri, Rayagada, Bolangir, Sonepur, Kalahandi and Nuapada on July 2 to demand immediate and strict implementation of Forest Rights Act (FRA) across Odisha.

Prasad press meet-congress

“While adivasis have made applications for land pattas since 2007 under the FRA, they are yet to get it. We have called for a bandh on July 2 in the eight districts of Koraput, Nabarangpur, Malkangiri, Rayagada, Bolangir, Sonepur, Kalahandi and Nuapada. We demand strict and immediate implementation of FRA. We demand immediate release of former MP Pradip Majhi and 18 others and withdrawal of false cases against them,” said Prasad Harichandan, Odisha Pradesh Congress Committee (OPCC) president at a press conference here today.

The state has turned into a sanctuary for criminals during Naveen Patnaik’s regime, alleged Harichandan adding that the government is not serious in arresting criminals as most of them are absconding.

To stress his point Harichandan alleged that while Papu Pom Pom, actors involved in Oscar chit fund scam, senior police officers and Motilal Gouda are absconding, the police has arrested Congress workers on false charges.

“On the other hand, serious charges like ransacking of government office, destruction of public property, loot, theft and threaten to kill have been levelled against Congress workers who led by former MP Pradip Majhi were holding a peaceful demonstration at Raighar in Nabarangpur district on June 25 demanding land pattas and ration cards for poor and innocent adivasis. Pradip and 18 other Congress men are now in Umerkote jail. This is nothing but sheer political vendetta of the Naveen Patnaik run BJD government,” Harichandan pointed out.

The BJD however, said that it did not require a certificate from the OPCC president for its concern for the adivasis.

“The BJD has always strived for protecting the interests of adivasis. We do not need a certificate from the OPCC president. Adivasis are always in the heart of the BJD,” said Dibyasankar Mishra, BJD spokesperson in his reaction to Harichandan’s allegations.