BHUBANESHWAR: Normalcy returned to the assembly on Saturday during the afternoon session with parliamentary affairs minister Bikram Arukha making a statement on the alleged detention of students of Rama Devi Women's University on Thursday when chief minister Naveen Patnaik visited the educational institution.
Earlier, the house had to be adjourned several times by Speaker Niranjan Pujari and no business could be transacted as Opposition Congress members created noisy scenes demanding 'apology' from the Chief Minister over the issue. The Speaker asked the state government to make a statement on the issue in the afternoon session.
A statement by BJD MLA Priyadarshi Mishra outside the house that the students were confined because of security concerns sparked off uproarious scenes forcing the Speaker to adjourn the House till 3pm. The house could meet for only two minutes in the pre-lunch session as the Speaker convened an all-party meeting to resolve the issue.
Mishra while defending the confinement of the students, referred to the assasination of former prime minister Rajiv Gandhi by a human bomb at Sriperumbudur in Tamil Nadu.
Leader of the Opposition Narasingh Mishra criticised the statement by the BJD MLA as 'irresponsible'. The BJD member, however, expressed his regret over making such a statement in the house paving the way for its smooth functioning.
In his statement in the house, the parliamentary affairs minister said that media reports on detention of students during the chief minister's visit was not based on facts. No students were confined in a closed space, he said and added that there was no ban on them to go to the meeting place through the Gate no-1. Gate no-2 was meant for only vehicles of VIPs, he said.
The minister said that around 10 to 12 students wanted to go to the meeting place through the restricted area. The function was organised on a open place on the University premises, he said.
However, the BJD MLA's statement drew criticism from both Congress and BJP leaders. Congress chief whip Bahinipati demanded that the chief minister should express regret for the MLA's statement. Pradip Purohit (BJP) described thestatement as unfortunate.
Meanwhile, president of the Odisha Pradesh Congress Committee (OPCC) Prasad Harichandan demanded legal action against the chief minister for the detention of students during his visit to the University.