Sharing concern of the Odisha Assembly over the forced removal of black stoles of women and girls in a government programme, Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik on Wednesday said he was “personally shocked” over the incident. “I strongly share the concern of this august house on the issue of security personnel removing black odhnis of girls in a government programme in Sundergarh district on the 4th of this month,” Patnaik said in a statement in the assembly following demands of apology from him by opposition Congress and BJP members.
The opposition stir demanding apology from the chief minister had led to stalling of the assembly proceedings on Monday. “When I came to know of this incident, I was personally shocked,” he said dismissing opposition allegation that police removed the black stoles of girls and women at the instructions of Patnaik himself.
The chief minister also informed the House that he had called home secretary and director general of police and warned against any conduct which denigrates human dignity and any repetition.
“The DGP has been asked to conduct inquiry in this matter and take appropriate action against the defaulting security personnel. Inspector General of Police, Western Range, Rourkela is already probing the incident,” he said.
The government, he asserted, is sensitive and fully committed to empowerment and preserving the dignity of women. “I am also against causing inconvenience to people while enforcing security protocol and had earlier directed police several times in this regard.”
Despite the chief minister’s statement in the House, BJP members continued to agitate in the well of the House. They rushed to the well after BJP’s woman MLA Radharani Panda was not given permission to speak on the stole incident.
As the din continued, Speaker Niranjan Pujari adjourned the proceedings till post lunch session. Earlier in the day, the House was adjourned thrice over the incident.