Protest against JMM demand intensifies in Orissa


Bhubaneswar : Protests against the Jharkhand Mukti Morcha’s (JMM) reported demand for a greater Jharkhand by adding parts of neighbouring states to it has intensified in Orissa, with hundreds of activists and students staging demonstrations and observing a shutdown in some parts of the state Thursday.

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The shutdown call given by the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) in the mineral rich district of Keonjhar affected life in the region. Hundreds of party workers brought out a procession in Keonjhar town, some 200 km from here.

Schools, colleges, private and government offices were closed in the town as protesters blocked roads at several places. Vehicular movement was also affected, police said.

Hundreds of students brought out a procession and burnt the effigy of JMM chief Shibu Soren at Cuttack, some 25 km from the state capital here.

Soren has reportedly presented a 13-point demand list to Congress president Sonia Gandhi in return for his party’s support to the United Progressive Alliance (UPA) government in Tuesday’s trust vote.

This includes the proposal for a greater Jharkhand by carving out at least three districts from Orissa and some from West Bengal. The Orissa districts are Sundergarh, Keonjhar and Mayurbhanj.

“The UPA government has already won the vote of confidence and it may now take steps to meet Soren’s demand,” Keonjhar district Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) president Murli Sharma told IANS.

“We will not allow this to happen at any cost,” he said.

Several other organisations and political parties have issued statements opposing Soren’s demand and staged protests across the state for the past two days.

Mayurbhanj district observed a shutdown Wednesday after a call given by the BJP.