Woman MLA claims victimisation by police misbehaviour

Bhubaneswar: BJP MLA Radharani Panda today claimed she was a victim of police misbehaviour, alleging her shawl was forcibly removed while she was on her way to attend a meeting by Odisha Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik last month.

Panda, who was denied permission to speak on the issue of police removing black stoles of girls in government meetings by Speaker of Odisha Assembly, said, “A male police personnel pulled down my black shawl while I was going to attend a meeting of Chief Minister at Jharsuguda on November 23.”

The opposition lawmaker said though she tried to speak on the subject during the Zero Hours in the Assembly, Speaker Niranjan Pujari did not give her permission to raise her grievances in the House.

“Instead, the Speaker adjourned the House several times for 45 minutes while I could have narrated my experience in less than five minutes,” Panda told reporters outside the Assembly after not being given a chance to raise the issue.

The Brajrajnagar MLA said she wanted to inform the house that women were not only subjected to humiliation at Sundergarh alone, but also at Jharsuguda and Bargarh where Chief Minister Patnaik addressed meetings.

In all the three places, she alleged, the police forced women and girls to remove their black colour stoles or shawls before entering into the meeting venue of the chief minister.

BJP Legislature Party leader K V Singhdeo said, “Not allowing a woman MLA to speak on the ordeal she faced at the chief minister’s meeting itself shows attitude of this government.”

Leader of Opposition Narasingha Mishra of Congress also slammed the government for “not being able to protect dignity of the women.”

“The Chief Minister has said that he asked the DGP to ensure that no such incident took place in future. This statement confirms that the women were subjected to humiliation at the CM’s meeting. But the government has not so far taken any action,” Mishra said.