SAMBALPUR: The dawn-to-dusk bandh called by Sambalpur District Bar Association (SDBA) on Wednesday, protesting alleged highhandedness of Collector Mrinalini Darswal and demanding her suspension, evoked spontaneous response.
The SDBA members led by its president Pramod Rath and secretary Bijendriya Pradhan picketed early in the morning and closed down all government offices, including the office of
Revenue Divisional Commissioner (Northern Division), IG of Police (Northern Range), Collectorate,
Municipality and District Rural Development Agency (DRDA) besides courts.
The Government officials did not turn up for work apprehending face-off with the lawyers.
All business and commercial establishments and
financial institutions remained closed while heavy vehicles were stranded on NH-6, NH-55 and State Highway 10.
However, vehicles carrying students for examinations and essential services including trains were exempted from bandh.
Early in the morning hundreds of lawyers congregated at the collectorate and blocked the main gate restricting entry of employees. They shouted slogans against the highhandedness and autocratic attitude of the Collector and demanded her suspension.
Members from different political parties, including president of Sambalpur District Congress Committee Rajkishore Das and BJP district president Nauri Naik joined the lawyers and supported the bandh.
Elaborate security arrangements had been made by the police to meet any untoward situation.
On April 23, Darswal was allegedly manhandled by the members of SDBA who had boarded a bus for Burla to protest the unscheduled power cuts. The lawyers, however, accused her of provoking them.
Talking to newsmen, Rath demanded an impartial probe into the mater and threatened to continue the stir in phases, if no action was taken against the Collector. He also opposed the State Government decision seeking a report from the Collector on the incident.