Farmers protests: 80 Odisha artistes, coming from R-Day parade, stuck in bus amid mayhem

The 80-member Bajasal folk dance troupe in two buses was stuck on the Mansingh Road for over five hours as the protesting farmers went on a rampage.
Farmers participate in a tractor rally after breaking police barricades at Singhu border during their ongoing protest against Centre's farm reform laws. (File Photo | Shekhar Yadav, EPS)
Farmers participate in a tractor rally after breaking police barricades at Singhu border during their ongoing protest against Centre's farm reform laws. (File Photo | Shekhar Yadav, EPS)

BHUBANESWAR /BHAWANIPATNA: For Bajasal folk dance guru Dhyanananda Panda and his group, this trip to New Delhi was special as they were the only troupe from Eastern India to perform at the Republic Day parade on the Rajpath.

But little did they know, their experience in the national capital would turn nightmarish even after an impactful performance that drew huge appreciation from all quarters. The 80-member troupe in two buses was stuck on the Mansingh Road for over five hours as the protesting farmers went on a rampage, attacking policemen and damaging property before laying siege to the Red Fort.

The artistes were getting ready to leave Rajpath for their place of stay behind ITO Square after their performance at 12.30 pm when they got information that their route had turned into a battlefield. They then took an alternative route through Mansingh Road, which was also found to be blocked. The escort police party advised them to stay inside the bus till normalcy was restored.

The troupe members, including 28 girls, couldn't even have lunch despite being too hungry after the performance. "We were stranded near Bikaner House. All the members were scared when we came to know about the violence. Thanks to the officials of Eastern Zonal Cultural Centre (EZCC), our dancers could get some dry food like Samosa. We left the place with police escort at about 6 pm," said Panda.

The Prativa Anusthan troupe from Kalahandi had taken part in the parade through EZCC, Kolkata under Union Ministry of Culture. Union PNG and Steel Minister Dharmendra Pradhan and Tourism and Culture Minister Pralhad Singh Patel on Wednesday met the troupe members and regretted the inconvenience caused to them. 

"The Ministry officials were in regular touch with the group and ensured their safe return from the venue," Patel said. The team is slated to return to Odisha by Hazrat Nizamuddin-Visakhapatnam special train on Thursday. 

Related Stories

No stories found.

X
The New Indian Express
www.newindianexpress.com