Bhubaneswar | Normal life was hit today in eight Odisha districts in backward KBK region during a bandh called by Congress which dubbed the BJP government as anti-tribal and demanded halt to alleged exploitation of tribals and implementation of Forest Rights Act.
The bandh was by and large peaceful as tight security arrangements were made to prevent any untoward incident, police said. Shops and business establishments in tribal-dominated districts like Kalahandi, Balangir, Koraput, Sonepur, Nuapada, Nabarangpur, Rayagada and Malkangiri remained closed during the dawn-to-dusk bandh. Vehicular movement was also disrupted in the Kalahandi- Balangir-Koraput region as Congress workers blocked roads at different places, police said.
Private as well as government buses, trucks and other vehicles remained off the roads leaving a large number of commuters stranded at several places. Essential services and educational institutions were kept out of the purview of the shutdown. A report from Kalahandi district said the bandh disrupted normal life at Bhawanipatna, Kesinga, Junagarh and other urban centres.
The bandh also protested against the arrest of Congress leader Pradip Majhi, who was released on bail yesterday. Claiming that the bandh was a complete success, Odisha PCC president Prasad Harichandan said it evoked overwhelming support from the people as they are against atrocities perpetrated against poor tribals and forest dwellers under the BJD regime.
The PCC chief dubbed the NDA government at the Centre and BJD regime in Odisha as anti-tribal and claimed that Congress leaders including Majhi had been arrested on false charges in Nabarangpur district.
Alleging that government officials were exploiting the tribals, particularly in undivided KBK districts in the name of land giving pattas, he said false cases are being slapped against them and arrested when they protest. He also alleged that huge amounts had been taken by forest officials at Raighar in Nabarangpur district from tribals for years to give them land pattas.
When tribals along with Congress leaders staged protests and demanded pattas, they were arrested on false charges, Harichandan alleged and claimed that the government was shielding the culprits.