Lawyers ransack govt offices in Orissa

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Berhampur,Jan 29 (UNI) The agitation for setting up a permanent bench of Orissa High Court in Southern Orissa today took a violent turn with agitating lawyers going on a rampage.

They ransacked government offices and allegedly heckled cameramen of private TV Channels.

The lawyers who were taking out a procession in support of their demands, suddenly became violent and ransacked the office of Sub-Collector, Tahasildar and locked up the office of the Revenue Divisional Commissioner (Southern Division).

Ganjam Superintendent of Police Nitinjit Singh who arrived along with force at the spot controlled the situation.

Police said tension prevailed in the area but no action had been taken against the lawyers.

However, Ganjam Bar Association President Sudhansu Panda denied involvement of any lawyers in the incident.

Mr Panda said the lawyers were agitating in a peaceful manner.

'' If somebody attacked and ransacked the government offices for any other reasons we have nothing to say. We took out a procession in support of our demand and never took law into our hands'', he asserted.

But Baidyanathpur Police station Inspector-In-Charge P N Majhi said, '' this is definitely the handiwork of lawyers''.

Lawyers expressed their anger apparently after Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik did not turn up to meet a delegation of lawyers at Bhubaneswar yesterday even though the appointment was fixed eight days ago.

But when the delegation of lawyers along with MLAs Dr Ramesh Chandra Chowpatnaik (Berhampur), Mr Narayan Reddy (Chhatrapur) Ms Ushadevi (Chikiti) reached Bhubaneswar, the Chief Minister left for Cuttack.

In the absence of the Chief Minister the delegation discussed the issue with Law Secretary, Home Secretary and Chief Minister's Private Secretary.

They demanded the Cabinet-Sub Committee on law should pass a resolution recommending setting up of a permanent bench of the Court before the onset of the budget session of the Assembly and send it to the Centre for approval.

The lawyers today boycotted the Court and did not allow the judges to attend it.

A Rourkela report said in response to a call given by the Central Action Committee,the lawyers boycotted the courts in Western Orissa demanding the setting up of a permanent bench of the High Court in Western Orissa.

The lawyers have decided to boycott the court on the last three days of every month till the government fulfilled the demand.

UNI XC-BD KK SK RN2210

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