Odisha Sun Times Bureau
Sambalpur, Apr 7:
A dawn to dusk bandh called by the Odisha unit of Congress today over the vandalization of Mahatma Gandhi statue at the Sambalpur University campus paralysed life in Odisha’s Burla.
Supporters of Burla Nagar Congress Committee were seen picketing across various entry points and key junctions of the town trying to make the bandh successful. While vehicular traffic came to a standstill, most shops, government offices and banks remained closed. Passengers were seen stranded in bus stops.
Even though there have been no reports of violence so far, security measures have been beefed up to avoid any untoward incident. Dozens of Congress workers have been taken into preventive custody.
The agitators were seen holding placards and shouting slogans demanding stringent action against the miscreants who vandalized the statue.
“A statue of the Father of the Nation that was inaugurated by BJD MLA Rohit Pujari as recently as April 4 couldn’t have come down on its own. There was no cyclone here either. Besides, the inauguration plate has also been defaced. A group must have brought it down intentionally. We demand an enquiry and stringent action against the culprits,” said an agitator.
Even though Sambalpur SP attempted to clarify that the statue could have fallen down because of high winds, neither the agitators nor the university authorities were ready to listen.
Notably, the cops have started an enquiry into the incident after Sambalpur University Vice Chancellor Chitta Ranjan Tripathy lodged a complaint pertaining to the vandalization of the statue.