Protests swell after girl's death, opposition calls for Hartal

Opposition parties called for hartal on Saturday to press for the resignation of Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik and Health Minister Damodar Rout.

Published: 10th August 2013 10:37 AM  |   Last Updated: 10th August 2013 11:27 AM   |  A+A-


Angry protests over the death of 15-year-old burn patient of Kendrapara spilled over from Thursday midnight even as the girl was cremated at Puri by her family members on Friday. Politics was played out throughout the day as several Opposition parties called for hartal on Saturday to press for the resignation of Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik and  Health Minister Damodar Rout.

The death has already triggered a wave of protests since Thursday night. Agitators vented their anger on the ruling BJD leaders. After Rout’s residence was  targeted, it was Bhubaneswar (Central) MLA Bijay (Badal) Mohanty who bore the brunt of the agitators’ ire late last night. Mohanty, who was near Naveen Nivas, was allegedly manhandled by the protestors who were on their way to gherao the Chief Minister’s residence.

Several vehicles were set ablaze during the day across the city. A town bus was torched at new AG Square while more vehicles were damaged or set ablaze near Unit II, Satya Nagar and Laxmi Sagar area.

Meanwhile, investigation has revealed that the girl had died on her way to Biju Patnaik airport, much  before she was brought to Capital Hospital where she was kept in the ICU amidst protests from family members and activists.

“When she was received at the Capital Hospital, she had perished. The doctors accompanying her apparently panicked and did not know how to handle the situation. After she was brought here, the situation went completely out of hand and we could not get a chance to break the news,” said sources in the Capital Hospital.

With the incident providing impetus to the Opposition, the parties took to the streets demanding resignation of Naveen as well as Rout. The Youth Congress activists burnt the posters of the Chief Minister while the CPI staged a demonstration near Raj Mahal Square demanding a compensation of Rs 1crore for the bereaved family.

Similarly, the BJP Youth Morcha staged a demonstration while the party called for 12-hour hartal across the State. The youth wing of Utkal Bharat also took out a silent rally in the city.

Meanwhile, Commissioner of Police Sunil Roy told mediapersons at the airport that the manhandling and incidents of arson will be investigated after police secures CCTV footage. Necessary action will be initiated after that, he added.

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