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Pandemonium in Odisha assembly over farmers’ detention

IANS | Bhubaneswar |

The Odisha assembly on Wednesday witnessed pandemonium over the detention of hundreds of farmers, who were coming to attend a farmers’ convention here.
As soon as the house assembled, leader of Opposition Narasingh Mishra raised the matter and demanded a discussion on the issue, which was rejected by Deputy Speaker Sanand Marandi.
As a result, the Congress members rushed into the well and shouted slogans against the Naveen Patnaik-led government.
As the chaos in the house continued, the deputy Speaker adjourned it till 3 p.m.
Later, the Congress MLAs moved to Raj Bhavan and sought the intervention of Governor S.C. Jamir.
They demanded immediate release of farmers from police custody.
“The act of the state government is undemocratic. Police have detained hundreds of farmers at several places across the state. They are coming to attend a rally and express their displeasure to the government,” said the leader of Opposition.
Congress chief whip Taraprasad Bahinipati demanded immediate and unconditional release of the farmers, who have been kept forcefully at various stations and bus stops.
Agriculture minister Pradeep Maharathy said no representative of Navnirman Krushak Sanghathan (NKS), which has organised the farmers’ convention, met him.
“No representative of the NKS met me over their demands. I am unaware of their problems. I am always ready to discuss the farmers’ issues,” he said.
Police have detained hundreds of farmers who had assembled for the farmers’ convention on Wednesday to press for their long standing demand of ‘Price, Pension and Prestige’.
“We have taken several farmers into preventive custody. Going by their previous record of immobilising national highways and creating law and order problems, we had to do this. Several times, we conducted meetings with them to scale down their numbers but when they didn’t, such preventive detentions had to be made,” said Satyabrata Bhoi, DCP, Bhubaneswar.
Soumya Ranjan Patnaik, NKS advisor, said: “Satyagraha will be held at every farmer’s house in Odisha for the salvation of the Naveen Sarkar.”