Congress shutdown paralyses life in Odisha (Lead)

September 10th, 2012 - 4:04 pm ICT by IANS  

Bhubaneswar, Sep 10 (IANS) Thousands of people were taken into preventive custody Monday in Odisha during a dawn-to-dusk shutdown called by the Congress party to protest police excesses on its workers during a party rally here last week, an official said.

“About 2,400 people have been taken into preventive custody so far,” a senior state police official told IANS.

Except the burning of a bus by some protestors at Bhubaneswar, no other untoward incidents have been reported from any part of the state so far, he added. The protest has been peaceful,” he said.

The prominent among those taken into preventive custody include state Congress chief Niranjan Patnaik, leader of the opposition in the state assembly Bhupinder Singh and former chief minister Hemananda Biswal.

Public transport was badly affected in most of the state’s towns as buses and taxis went off the roads. Trains were stranded at different railway stations as Congress workers squatted on railway tracks. Workers shouted anti-government slogans, burned tyres on roads, carried out processions and set fire to the effigies of chief minister Naveen Patnaik at several places.

In the state capital Bhubaneswar, workers of the main opposition party gathered near bus stands, railway stations and government and private offices and picketed them.

Shops, showrooms, restaurants, banks, financial and educational institutions were found closed across the state. Although a few government offices were running in places like Bhubaneswar and Cuttack, the attendances were thin.

The works at different courts, including in the High Court at Cuttack, about 26 km from here was also hit. Some ministers came to their office at the state secretariat here on motorbikes.

“We are thankful to the people for spontaneously observing the shutdown. The Odisha Bandh is a complete success,” state Congress president Niranjan Patnaik, who courted arrest in Bhubaneswar along with several others senior Congress leaders, told reporters.

At least 100 people, including protestors and several policemen, were injured Sep 7 when the rally by the Congress against the Naveen Patnaik-led government turned violent.

Police used water cannons, lobbed teargas shells and used canes to disperse the irate crowd after the rallyists allegedly stormed the barricade and attacked police personnel.

While police said it used force after the crowd indulged in vandalism outside the assembly, the Congress accused police of using force without provocation. Police have arrested 38 people for the violence Sep 7.

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