With Odisha Assembly stalled for the entire day over police allegedly forcing women to remove their black stoles at a meeting of Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik in Sundargarh, the CM on Monday expressed displeasure over the incident and asked the DGP to probe the matter and ensure such incidents do not re-occur elsewhere in the state.
“The Chief Minister has expressed displeasure over the incident and has asked the Director General of Police to inquire into the matter. The CM has also told the DGP to ensure that such incidents do not take place in future,” state Home Secretary Asit Tripathy told reporters after a meeting with Patnaik.
DGP B K Singh, who was called to the meeting, said “He (CM) has instructed me to ensure that dignity of women is respected and not to repeat such incidents in future.”
Stating that the police would take all steps to prevent such incidents, Singh said “We will try to complete the inquiry very soon.”
Patnaik’s reaction on the matter came after the opposition Congress and BJP stalled proceeding of the state Assembly for the day demanding an unconditional apology from the Chief Minister.
The Opposition alleged the police forced women and girls to remove their black stoles and other black dress before entering the meeting venue attended by Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik in Sundergarh district on Sunday.
As soon as the House assembled for the day at 10.30 AM, the Opposition rushed to the Well shouting anti Patnaik slogans, disrupting proceeding and demanding apology from the Chief Minister.
The ruling BJD, however, said it was a security protocol and no women have lodged any complaint. Unable to run the proceedings, Speaker Niranjan Pujari adjourned the House several times and finally for the day. An all-party meeting to end the impasse in the House by the Speaker also failed to yield any result.
“The police harassed women participants at a rally in the name of CM’s security yesterday. This is really painful and unfortunate. The Chief Minister should apologise for showing disrespect to women,” Leader of Opposition Narasingh Mishra of the Congress said. Opposition Chief Whip Tara Prasad Bahinipati said “The Chief Minister has insulted the mothers at his rally. Women wearing black sarees were not allowed to enter Patnaik’s meeting. The CM should tender unconditional apology.”
Drawing a parallel between disrobing of Droupadi in Mahabharata and forceful removal of black stoles of women at the meeting, BJP’s Pradip Purohit said it was evident that the government was afraid of black clothes’ flags.
BJP has called a state-wide agitation on Tuesday.
“Party activists will stage agitation in all 314 blocks and urban areas tomorrow against dishonour of women at Patnaik’s meeting,” state party president Basant Panda said.