Lawyers’ bandh shuts down Sambalpur

Life was thrown out of gear in Sambalpur on Wednesday following a bandh called by lawyers to demand the removal of the collector for allegedly abusing them.

Sources said the bandh was quite successful with several social organizations and political parties lending support to the lawyer’s cause. Commercial establishments, banks, government offices and markets were closed. However, educational institutions remained open as the lawyers decided not to include school and colleges in the purview of the bandh because of the ongoing examinations. Reports said lawyers at Kuchinda and Redhakhol also observed cease work, expressing solidarity with their counterparts in Sambalpur.

“Barring a few stray incidents, the bandh was totally peaceful. But we have arranged for extensive security to curb any untoward incident during the bandh,” a senior district police officer said.

“The bandh reflects the people’s anger against the collector, Mrinalini Darswal,” claimed the president of Sambalpur Bar Association, Pramod Rath. He added that the crime branch probe into Monday’s scuffle between lawyers and the collector could not be fair with Darswal remaining in her post.

On Monday, there was a scuffle between lawyers and the collector triggered by an argument over the valuation of land. While the collector alleged that the lawyers had assaulted her and attempted to outrage her modesty, the lawyers have denied the charges saying she abused them using filthy language. Different cases were registered at the local police station.

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