Bandh against collector’s behaviour;IAS body wants action

As Sambalpur town observed a bandh today called by the District Bar Association seeking dismissal of lady collector Mrinalini Darswal for her alleged high-handedness, IAS Officers’ Association of Odisha demanded action against the “erring” lawyers. The lawyers on April 23 ransacked Sambalpur district collector Darswal’s official residence and allegedly abused her over a dispute relating to hike in the land registration fee.

The lawyers had also allegedly attacked the office of the deputy sub-registrar while protesting the increase in the registration fee. ?Collectors represent the state in districts and must be protected at all costs?, Secretary of the IAS Officers Association, Odisha, Madhu Sudan Padhi told reporters after an emergency meeting of the general body here.

A delegation of the association also met chief minister Naveen Patnaik and submitted a memorandum seeking protection of the officers in the state. “The meeting also appreciated the exceptional courage shown by Mrinalini Darswal in protecting her subordinate officers while discharging duty?, Padhi said. “The lawyers illegally confined me in the bus and even tried to take me away.

They abused me in filthy language and ransacked my residential office,? Darswal told reporters. The Chief Minister had yesterday ordered a crime branch inquiry into Monday?s incident in Sambalpur. “The law will take its own course,” Patnaik said though no one was so far arrested in connection with the ransacking of the collector’s office and her vehicle.   Meanwhile, the 12-hour bandh call given by lawyers at Sambalpur got support from all political parties.

“The bandh was total and spontaneous,” Sambalpur District Bar Association president P K Rath claimed. While the annual matriculation examination was exempted from the purview of the shut-down, shops, offices, banks, petrol pumps, post office remained closed during the bandh.

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