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Red bandh throws life out of gear

Berhampur, March 7: Normal life in several parts of state’s southern districts was affected as Maoists today observed Orissa bandh.

The call was issued by the Basadhara division of the Maoists, Communist Party of India (CPI) and CPI(ML) New Democracy in protest against the controversial custodial death of Lalit Dehuri at Chamakhandi police station under Chatrapur in Ganjam district.

“The Orissa State Road Transpojrt Corporation (OSRTC) buses to Cuttack, Bhubaneswar, Jeypore and Koraput from Berhampur were suspended today as a precautionary measure,” station manager of the OSRTC Berhampur said. The bandh also affected Daringibadi, Brahmanigaon, Kotagada, Raikia and other places in Kandhamal.

Many shops and business establishments downed their shutters. Vehicular traffic, too, came to a halt in many parts of Kandhamal.

All OSRTC and private buses stopped plying through Adaba in Gajapati district. The Mohana branch of State Bank of India, the Mohana and Aliganda branches of United Bank of India and the Adaba and Mohana branches of Rushikulya Gramya Bank remained closed.

The CPI and CPI(ML) New Democracy have demanded judicial inquiry into the controversial custodial death of Lalit Dehuri. They also demanded compensation of Rs 10 lakh for the family members of the deceased and arrest of the guilty policemen.

CPI leader and former MLA of Chatrapur N. Narayan Reddy and state committee spokesperson of the CPI(ML) New Democracy Bhal Chandra Sarangi, in separate statements, said that the deceased Lalit Dehuri had not committed suicide but had been beaten to death by the police, but the state government is yet to initiate any action against the guilty.

“Several persons had seen Lalit being beaten up by police at Chatrapur police station before he had been taken to Chamakhandi police station where he died under mysterious conditions on Tuesday morning. The body of the deceased was cremated in a hurry in Berhampur on Thursday evening although we as well as civil rights activists were demanding a fresh postmortem,” said Narayan Reddy. A two-member team of the People’s Union for Civil Liberties (PUCL), including Pramodini Pradhan and Narendra Mohanty, visited Chamakhandi police station on Friday to investigate the custodial death.

The CPI resorted to a blockade on the NH … at Chamakhandi for about two-and-a-half hours today. The NH blockade was led by former MLA of Chatrapur N. Narayan Reddy.

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