Cong workers seek CM’s ouster

Congress activists in Ganjam district on Monday burnt the effigies of chief minister Naveen Patnaik and agriculture minister Pradip Maharathy, demanding their resignation in the wake of the gang rape incident at Pipili in Puri district. The protesters also demanded a CBI inquiry into the incident.

A similar protest was organized by Youth Congress activists in Koraput district. Alleging that the law and order situation had deteriorated in the past 10 years, submitted a memorandum to the district administration to be forwarded to the governor.

“While the chief minister himself holds the home portfolio, the state is witnessing deteriorating law and order situation. Crime against women, kidnappings, rapes, dacoities and extortions have become rampant now. The ruling party leaders are found involved in all these heinous crimes. Agriculture minister Pradeep Maharathi has provided protection to the accused involved in the Pipli gang rape,” the memorandum read. “The state is reeling from succession of rapes and murders at Pipli, Bhadrak, Rajgangpur and Balipal among other places within the span of two weeks,” it added.

The protesters alleged that Maoists were running a parallel government in the state. As many as 22 out of 30 districts are now Maoist-affected. The hostage of police personnel of R Udaygiri and the former collector of Malkangiri and the incidents in the aftermath showed the state government’s capitulation to the Red rebels, they added.

Demanding the resignation of Maharathi, Youth Congress leader Rabindra Mohapatra said, “Life and property of people in the state is not safe. With the growing incidents of rape and murder, women are panicked. BJD leaders and workers are abetting crime. The chief minister has failed to contain the situation.”

He added: “Sexual harassment of tribal students in Koraput, Nabarangpur and Rayagada districts, Kalinga Nagar carnage, Kandhamal communal strife, killing of people at Raighar, Maikanch and in the proposed site for the Posco project were some of the examples of police atrocities and disruptive law and order situation during the past 12 years tenure of the Naveen Patnaik government.”

In Angul, hundreds of Congress activists staged a demonstration in front of the district collector’s office on Monday. They also echoed the demand for the resignation of the chief minister and the agriculture minister. They also demanded the immediate arrest of the all culprits in the Pipili gang rape case

The protesters under the banner of Angul Youth Congress C ommittee had earlier taken out a procession to the district collector’s office, shouting anti-government slogans.

Women activists from various organizations in Angul district also staged a demonstration in front of the office of the district collector on Monday, demanding stringent action against the accused in the Pipili and the Rajgangpur gang rape cases.

The convener of Odisha Women’s Forum, Sasmita Behera, warned that they will intensify their agitation if the authorities failed to take immediate action. The women activists later submitted a memorandum to the governor through the additional district magistrate.

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