Bhubaneswar: Drawing criticism from various quarters, the state government today arrested hundreds of farmers across the state. The farmers had gathered for a mass convention to demand Minimum Support Price of Rs 2500 and pension. The state government’s action of detaining farmers and banning the convention was also condemned severely by Opposition leaders in the Assembly today.
The Nabanirman Krushak Sangha (NKS) had called for the farmers convention to protest against the state government’s apathy but the BJD government used massive police force to quash the gathering. While the convention was to be held before Assembly, Commissionerate Police had declared it illegal and did not give permission. In fact, police started the arrests from Tuesday night.
Police detained farmers from Cuttack, Bhubaneswar and other Railway Stations where they had gathered to travel for the convention in Bhubaneswar. While over 400 farmers were detained on Tuesday night in the capital city, on Wednesday morning police had stopped vehicles from entering Bhubaneswar on all entry points to the city. Vehicles carrying farmers were stopped and the farmers were arrested. While NKS leaders Akshay Kumar and Seshadeba Nanda were arrested earlier, Sambad editor Soumya Ranjan Patnaik was arrested today for organising the farmers’ mass rally. Police also imposed Section 144 at HiTech Square to stop entry of farmers to the city from Cuttack side.
Farmers blocked the National Highway to protest their arrest in Jajpur. “We cannot allow any rally on the National Highway,”said DCP Satyabrata Bhoi.
After the Assembly began at 10.30 am today, Opposition leader Narasingha Mishra had raised the farmers convention issue. But deputy speaker Sananda Marndi did not allow him to discuss the issue and adjourned the Assembly upto 3 pm. Later, BJP leaders staged dharna under the Gandhi statue in the Assembly premises and did not give up even after requests from government Chief whip Ananta Das and deputy chief whip Rohit Pujari.