Custodial deaths, closure of schools rock Odisha Assembly

Senior Congress MLA Tara Prasad Bahinipati threatens to end his life if the Government does not withdraw the decision to close around 14,000 schools.

Bhubaneswar: The second day of the Monsoon Session of Odisha Assembly began on a stormy note with legislators of Opposition BJP and Congress creating an uproar over custodial deaths and the Government decision to shut around 14,000 schools in the state on grounds of poor enrolment.

Soon after the House convened,  Congress legislators tried to put the Government on mat over custodial death in Puri alleging that police beat the accused to death under the direction of the district  SP.  Terming suspension of Puri SP for the incident as just an eyewash,  Leader of Congress Legislator Party (CLP) Narasingha Mishra said strict action must be taken against all those involved in the incident.

In reaction, BJD senior MLA Amar Satpathy said the incident of custodial is very disheartening. However, since the matter is sub-judice, discussion on the incident in the House may impact the inquiry.

Congress legislators also raised the issue of the state Government’s decision to close around 14,000 Upper Primary schools in the state on grounds of low enrolment. Stating that education is a fundamental right for everyone, the CLP urged Speaker Surjya Narayan Patro to direct the Government for taking necessary steps in this regard.

Following the ruckus by both Congress and BJP legislators over closure of schools , the Speaker issued a ruling on the issue and directed School and Mass Education Minister Samir Ranjan Dash to make a statement in the floor of the House by tomorrow.

Both the parties also staged protest over deteriorating law and order situation in the state.  Later, the Speaker adjourned the House till 3 PM as  the opposition parties continued the ruckus over the two issues.

Speaking to mediapersons following the adjournment, senior Congress MLA Tara Prasad Bahinipati threatened to end his life by self-immolation or silting throat  in the House if the Government does not withdraw the decision of closing around 14,000 schools.

In reaction, Minister Samir Dash said not closure of schools but quality education to students is what the state Government aims at. Process has begun to close 7772 (primary and upper primary ) not 14,000 schools, he informed outside the House adding that the decision was taken to ensure that no student drops out of school.

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