BHUBANESWAR: The shocking and controversial incident of removal of black stoles and dupattas of women who attended a public meeting of Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik in Sundargarh on Sunday has landed with the Odisha Human Rights Commission (OHRC).
Terming the action serious violation of human rights, two human rights activists have sought an inquiry into the matter. They have also requested that the civil and police officials responsible for the incident must be proceeded against departmentally and as per penal provisions. A token compensation of `1 may be awarded to the victims.
The petitioners, Biswapriya Kanungo and Bijay Panda both of whom are lawyers, said the incident showed that freedom of choice of women to dress was attacked. In the protocol adopted for security of VVIPs, there cannot be any reasonable prohibition on dress code of the public who attend a public meeting at a public place.
Similarly, if any such protocol has been prescribed, the same cannot be treated to be in conformity with the right to life with dignity and honour and freedom guaranteed in the Constitution.
The petition also said if any such protocol has been prescribed, it is not within the reasonable restrictions as permissible under Article 19 of the Constitution. This means such an act was not just, proper and valid procedure as established by the law.
Kanungo said individuals including women have every right to attend any public meeting without arms and irrespective of the dress. No individual can be prohibited to a public place because he or she is wearing a black dress. ‘’It is a serious act of dishonour on part of the public officials to not allow women to a public venue for being dressed in black on the pretext of VIP security,’’ he added.
Cong, BJP stage 'black' protest
Bhubaneswar: Women activists of the Opposition Congress hit the streets on Tuesday demanding an apology from Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik for the alleged misbehaviour of police with women at a public meeting in Sundargarh. Clad in black sarees, over 100 activists of Congress staged demonstration near Master Canteen square here and resorted to road blockade.
They shouted anti-Naveen slogans for ‘hurting’ sentiments of women. Women were humiliated at a public meeting which was addressed by the CM. Black stoles and shawls were removed before allowing women to the meeting place, State Mahila Congress president Sasmita Behera said. The State BJP also organised demonstrations in all the 314 block headquarters in protest. The BJD, on the other hand, criticised the opposition political parties for trying to make an issue out of nothing.