Bhubaneswar: Public transport was hit in Odisha Monday and trains stranded as the opposition Congress called for a dawn-to-dusk shutdown to protest police excesses on its workers during a party rally here last week, officials said.
Public transport was badly affected in several towns as many buses and taxis went off the roads. Trains were stranded at different railway stations as Congress workers squatted on railway tracks.
In the state capital Bhubaneswar, workers of the state’s main opposition party gathered near bus stands, railway stations and government and private offices and picketed them.
Shops, showrooms, restaurants, banks, financial and educational institutions were found closed across the state. Although a few government offices were running in places like Bhubaneswar and Cuttack, the attendances were thin.
The works at different courts, including the Orissa High Court at Cuttack was also hit. Some ministers came to their office at the State Secretariat on motorbikes.
Thousands of people were taken into preventive custody during the shutdown.
Except the burning of a bus by some protestors at Bhubaneswar, no other untoward incidents have been reported from any part of the state. The protest has been peaceful.
The prominent among those taken into preventive custody include state Congress chief Niranjan Patnaik, leader of the opposition in the state assembly Bhupinder Singh and former chief minister Hemananda Biswal.
“We are thankful to the people for spontaneously observing the shutdown. The Odisha Bandh is a complete success,” state Congress president Niranjan Patnaik, who courted arrest in Bhubaneswar along with several others senior Congress leaders, told reporters.
It is noteworthy to mention that at least 100 people, including protestors and several policemen, were injured September 7 when the rally by the Congress against the Naveen Patnaik-led government turned violent.
Police used water cannons, lobbed teargas shells and used canes to disperse the irate crowd after the rallyists allegedly stormed the barricade and attacked police personnel.
While police said it used force after the crowd indulged in vandalism outside the assembly, the Congress accused police of using force without provocation. Police have arrested 38 people for the violence on September 7.