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Phulbani, July 11: A dawn-to-dusk bandh called by Congress and BJP in protest against the killing of tribals during Maoist-police crossfire near Kurtamgarh evoked strong response in Kandhamal district Monday.
Shops, markets, business establishments, educational institutions and banks remained closed in the tribal-dominated district during the 12-hour shutdown in a show of solidarity with bandh supporters who were picketing at different places.
Vehicular movement also came to a halt as Congress and BJP workers staged road blockades by burning tyres and placing boulders at many places including Baliguda, Phulbani, Raikia, K Nuagaon and G Udayagiri, police said.
The bandh remained peaceful with no untoward incident reported from any place so far.
The bandh was called in protest against death of five civilians in the Maoist-police crossfire near Gumudumaha village of the district Friday night. Both Congress and BJP have held the BJD government responsible for the incident and demanded strong action against erring officials.
Stating that the bandh evoked good response and support from the people of Kandhamal, Congress leader and former MP Pradip Majhi said the agitation would be intensified and spread across the state if no action was taken against police officials responsible for the tragedy.
Dubbing the BJD government as “anti-tribal”, senior BJP leaders have demanded slapping of murder charge against police officials for the incident.
A BJP team led by party’s state unit president Basant Panda is scheduled to visit the area Tuesday.
Condemning the incident, CPI-M leader Ali Kishore Patnaik has demanded `20 lakh to the kin of those killed in the incident.
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