Lawyers in six districts of western Odisha will close down the Government offices and courts during the monsoon session of the State Assembly beginning Tuesday.
Under the aegis of All Western Odisha Bar Association (AWOBA), the agitation is being held to mark their protest against silence of the State Government on establishment of a permanent High Court bench in the region. In fact, the Central Action Committee (CAC) of AWOBA has been spearheading the agitation over the demand.
According to reports received from various districts till Monday evening, Government offices and courts will remain closed in Sambalpur, Deogarh, Sundargarh, Sonepur, Jharsuguda and Bargarh. Meetings in other districts over the issue were continuing till the report was filed. The agitation will conclude on August 28.
Earlier, the CAC had issued an ultimatum to the State Government to recommend to the Union Government on setting up the High Court bench by August 15. With State Government remaining silent on the issue, the CAC decided to go ahead with its agitation plan.
The agitation apart, political parties from almost all the districts of the region have extended their support to bar associations on the issue. At a meeting held here on Saturday, the political parties in Sambalpur district led by their presidents accepted the proposal of the CAC to abstain from the urban local body (ULB) election. The parties in Jharsuguda, Deogarh and Bargarh have also decided to boycott the ULB polls.
Members of Bargarh Bar Association who convened a meeting with political parties on Monday evening, adopted a resolution to boycott the ULB polls. At Deogarh, while BJD leaders were absent, BJP leader Subhas Panigrahi and Congress leader Dharmendra Debta also agreed to boycott the polls.
On the other hand, an all-party meeting convened by the Sundargarh District Bar Association urging political parties to boycott the ULB election was not accepted by the latter who sought more time to consult senior leaders. Local BJD and BJP leaders said they need time to take a decision, while their Congress counterparts said they would accept the decision the two parties take.