Bhubaneswar: The Odisha Assembly on Friday witnessed repeated adjournments with opposition Congress demanding unconditional apology from Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik over alleged locking of some girl students during his visit to a city college.
The issue was raised by Congress Chief Whip Taraprasad Bahinipati as soon as the House assembled for the question hour.
Showing newspaper clippings, Bahinipati alleged that around 10 girl students of Maa Rama Devi University here were locked up in a room by the police anticipating disturbance during Patnaik's campus visit for inauguration of the state's first women's university yesterday.
While demanding unconditional apology from the Chief Minister, who is also the Home Minister, the Congress members, led by Bahinipati, attempted to climb on the Speaker's podium and grab his mike.
Unable to run the House, Speaker Niranjan Pujari adjourned the House till 12 noon.
As soon as the House reassembled, the Congress lawmakers again created furore. Following this, the Speaker adjourned the House till 3 PM.
Leader of the Opposition Narasingha Mishra (Cong) said, "I demand that the Chief Minister should come to the House and beg apology for illegally confining girls in their own college. This action of police clearly violated the basic human rights and constitutional rights of girls." Congress MLA Anshuman Mohanty said, "The students were locked in the campus during the visit of Naveen Patnaik to the institution for the inguration of the state's first women's university. They were prevented from attending the function which is infringement of right to freedom given in Article 19, 20 and 21 of the Constitution. This incident has been covered by the media. So, the Chief Minister should tender an apology."
The opposition BJP members, on their part, expressed concern over the matter and protested the police action by standing on their respective seats.
"This is an inhuman incident. How can the police keep girls under lock and key?" asked BJP woman MLA Radharani Panda outside the House.
The ruling BJD MLAs, however, claimed that the girls were not locked up in a room.
"No girl was locked or confined to a room. The students were asked to come to the university in their uniform along with their identity cards issued by the institution. Those who had not come in uniform were not allowed to enter the campus. The allegation of students being detained and locked inside rooms are baseless," BJD MLA Byomkesh Ray, who is also the chief of the party's students wing, said.