Chaos in Orissa house over harassment charges against speaker

March 27th, 2008 - 4:21 pm ICT by admin  

Bhubaneswar, March 27 (IANS) Charges of sexual harassment against Orissa Speaker Maheswar Mohanty continued to rock the assembly for the second day Thursday with the opposition Congress demanding his resignation and refusing to let the house function. Gayatri Panda, 29, the first and only assistant woman marshal in the assembly, alleged Wednesday that Mohanty wanted sexual favours from her. When she refused, he placed her under suspension, she alleged.

Though Panda has not filed a police complaint against Mohanty, a group of women’s activists here did so on Thursday.

Although Mohanty denied the allegation and opted for a probe by the house, Congress legislators refused to back off and demanded a Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) inquiry.

They were so agitated that they refused to even allow deputy speaker Prahallad Dora to take over. He was found standing helplessly near the speaker’s chair while Congress members shouted slogans pressing for the speaker’s resignation.

Mohanty must quit as speaker to enable the government to launch an impartial inquiry, leader of opposition J.B. Patnaik said.

On Wednesday evening, state Parliamentary Affairs Minister Raghunath Mohanty had convened an all-party meeting to decide on the mode of inquiry into the allegation but it was indecisive.

Panda has alleged that she had written to the secretary of the assembly about Mohanty harassing her but no steps were taken.

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