Normal life was hit in Odisha today during a dawn-to-dusk hartal called by BJP blaming the BJD government for the death of a minor Dalit girl, who was set ablaze after a rape bid.
Commuters were stranded as BJP workers resorted to road blockade and rail roko at many places during the 12-hour hartal as the party alleged that the 14-year-old girl from Mahakalpada area of Kendrapara district died on Thursday night due to the government's apathy.
In the state capital, BJP activists blocked the track at Bhubaneswar railway station putting passengers into immense difficulty. The station was flooded with passengers with luggage as several long distance trains were stopped.
BJP workers also blocked roads at different areas including Khandagiri, Baramunda, Jayadev Vihar, Master Canteen, Rasulgarh square and Vani Vihar. Vehicles were stopped by the protesters who also burnt tyres on the roads at several places to stall vehicular movement.
Shops and business establishments were closed in many localities during the hartal which remained peaceful so far with no untoward incident reported from any place, a senior police official said.
Similar reports were received from places like Cuttack, Berhampur, Sambalpur, Balasore, Baripada, Puri, Bhadrak and Rourkela.
The impact of the hartal was felt more in some areas of western Odisha and Mayurbhanj district where life was paralysed. Besides closure of shops and disruption of public transport, schools, colleges, offices and banks remained closed in these areas, sources said.
Elaborate arrangements were made by the police to deal with any eventuality during the hartal. Police personnel were deployed at all sensitive areas to prevent any untoward incident, they said.