Lawyers stir on against Sambalpur incident

Lawyers in Cuttack continued their ceasework even as those in Bhubaneswar joined them on Monday to express solidarity with their counterparts in Sambalpur in the wake of the collector-lawyers standoff on April 23.

Two separate fact-finding teams of advocates from Bhubaneswar and Cuttack left for Sambalpur to assess the situation. “A fact-finding committee of the high court bar association has gone to Sambalpur to investigate into incident. The team will return on Tuesday and submit its report. We will decide our future course of action after that,” said Piyush Mishra, secretary of high court bar association.

Bhubaneswar Bar Association secretary Chittaranjan Barisal said a five-member team of the Bar from the city had also left for Sambalpur. “Police action against the lawyers in Sambalpur was one-sided. Police arrested them without proper investigation while it took no action on the FIR filed by them against the Sambalpur collector. Our team will examine all aspects in Sambalpur on Tuesday,” Barisal said.

Lawyers of the HC, criminal court, tax court and other lower courts in Cuttack have been boycotting court proceedings since Friday, affecting judicial services across the state. The HC bar has been demanding immediate withdrawal of cases against Sambalpur lawyers and a judicial inquiry into the April 23 incident.

Coinciding with the visit of State Commission for Women chairperson Jyoti Panigrahi to Sambalpur, woman lawyers there demonstrated in front of the inspector general of police office demanding the arrest of collector Mrinalini Darswal.

Panigrahi said she would strive for an amicable solution to the current impasse. “I am hopeful for an early solution,” she said after meeting collector Mrinalini Darswal and the lawyers separately.

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