Women leaders demand arrest of former Speaker

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Bhubaneswar,Apr 2(UNI) Women leaders of five opposition parties of Orissa today demanded immediate arrest of former Speaker Maheswar Mohanty for 'sexually harassing' suspended lady Marshal Gayatri Panda.

Leaders of Congress, All India Democratic Women Association, Utkal Mahila Samiti, Nationalist Congress Party and Lok Janashakti Party, who were on a dharna in front of the Assembly, said Mr Mohanty should be arrested ''as there was truth'' behind the allegation.

Mr Mohanty resigned from the Speaker's post on March 29 after the police registered criminal cases against him on the basis of complaint lodged by Ms.Panda at the Mahila police station here.

Orissa Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik had already ordered a probe into the incident by the State Human Rights Commission(SHRC).

The women leaders said they were not satisfied with the SHRC inquiry into the incident and demanded a CBI probe.

They said the ruling Biju Janata Dal must apologies to the people of the state and the entire women community for branding Gayatri Panda as 'characterless'.

The leaders alleged that during the present regime atrocities on women had increased manifold and demanded the resignation of Mr Naveen Patnaik on moral ground.

Earlier, the women activists marched in a procession shouting anti-government slogans and later addressed a rally where they announced to continue the agitation till their demands were met.

State Congress President Asima Mahananda, Utkal Mahila Samiti General Secretary Sandhya Mohapatra, NCP state Convenor Rini Mohanty AIDWA state Secretary Pushpa Das were among those who addressed the rally.

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