Odisha Sun Times Bureau
Bhubaneswar, Dec 4:
A day after around 20 students were allegedly locked in Rama Devi Women’s University during the inauguration ceremony, the Odisha Assembly today witnessed uproarious scenes as the Opposition parties sought a reply from the chief minister on the issue terming it as ‘infringement of rights’.
As soon as the Question Hour began, Congress chief whip Tara Prasad Bahinipati and other members of the party rushed into the well and waved today’s newspapers carrying the news piece on the Rama Devi issue.
The Congress legislators shouted slogans and demanded a reply from Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik. The Jeypore MLA even tried to climb on to the Speaker’s podium and grab the microphone.
The members created ruckus in the Assembly forcing Speaker Niranjan Pujari to adjourn the House till noon. The session lasted for only three minutes.
As soon as the House reassembled at noon, the lawmakers again stuck to their plans and created furore in the House. Following this, the Speaker again adjourned the House till 3 pm.
The deadlock in the Assembly continued after House reassembled at 3 pm forcing the Speaker to adjourn the House for the day.
“The girls were kept under house arrest. I spoke to policemen and they said that they were helpless,” Tara Prasad Bahinipati said.
Congress MLA Anshuman Mohanty said, “The students were locked on the campus during the visit of Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik to the institution on the event of inguration of state’s first women’s university. They were prevented from attending the function which is infringement of right to freedom given in Article 19, 20 and 21 of constitution. This incident has been covered by media. So, the chief minister should tender an apology for this.”
The Opposition BJP also staged protest in the House over the Rama Devi University incident.
“I am deeply hurt that the girls were locked inside a room. This is insult to women. The chief minister should tender apology for the incident,” BJP MLA Radharani Panda said.
On the other hand, the ruling members painted a different picture of the story.
“No girl was locked or confined to a room. The students were asked to come to the University in their uniform along with their identity cards issued by the institution. Those who had not come in uniform were not allowed to enter the University. The allegation of students being detained and locked inside rooms is baseless,” BJD’s Chandbali MLA Byomkesh Ray said.
Reacting to the Rama Devi incident, Leader of Opposition in the Odisha Assembly Narasingh Mishra said: “Right to speech and right to liberty have been violated. Chief minister should reply in the House,” Narasingha Mishra demanded.