Orissa protests JMM’s greater Jharkhand demand

July 22nd, 2008 - 3:24 pm ICT by IANS  

A file-photo of Bharatiya Janata Party

Bhubaneswar, July 22 (IANS) Protests were staged across Orissa Tuesday against the Jharkhand Mukti Morcha’s (JMM) reported demand for a greater Jharkhand by carving out parts of the state. Hundreds of activists of Orissa’s ruling coalition brought out protest rallies in various places in Sundergarh, Keonjhar and Mayurbhanj - the three districts JMM chief Shibu Soren reportedly wants as part of greater Jharkhand.

“We cannot give an inch of land from Orissa to Jharkhand,” Biju Janata Dal (BJD) leader Ananda Mohanty, who led a protest march in Sundergarh’s Rourkela city, told IANS.

BJD activists also burnt an effigy of the JMM chief. Similar processions were held in Keonjhar and Mayurbhanj.

The Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) has called for a shutdown on the issue in Mayurbhanj Wednesday.

Soren has reportedly presented a 13-point demand list to Congress president Sonia Gandhi in return for JMM’s support to the ruling United Progressive Alliance (UPA) government at the centre for the trust vote Tuesday.

This includes the proposal for a greater Jharkhand by carving out at least three districts from Orissa and West Bengal.

“I am strongly against (JMM chief) Shibu Soren’s demand,” Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik had told reporters here Monday.

“If the United Progressive Alliance accepts the demand, it will be considered anti-Orissa,” Patnaik said.

“This is a clear move by the Congress party and the JMM to divide Orissa,” BJP national vice president Jual Oram told IANS. “We will not allow this at any cost. We will not give an inch of Orissa,” he said.

Several other organisations and political parties have issued statements condemning the reported move by Soren.

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