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Frequent bandh calls affecting normal life

Bandh effect: Roadside shops are open even as passenger buses remained off the road, petrol pumps and ATM counters closed as a precautionary measure in Berhampur on Saturday. —

Bandh effect: Roadside shops are open even as passenger buses remained off the road, petrol pumps and ATM counters closed as a precautionary measure in Berhampur on Saturday. —   | Photo Credit: Photo: Lingaraj Panda

Staff Reporter



In this election season bandh calls provide publicity to organisations and their leaders



BERHAMPUR: Every one started to enquire about the organisation ‘Rudra Sena’ only after posters were pasted about its bandh call in Ganjam district on Saturday.

Frequent bandh calls by little known organisations and political outfits have become a menace in south Orissa. The nondescript signboard based organisations have started to cash in on the fear psychosis of general public and have started giving bandh calls on trivial issues to get cheap publicity for their organisations. The harsh remarks of the Supreme Court against bandh calls seem to have little impact on the minds of these bandh callers.

Although ‘Rudra Sena’ had given the bandh call in Ganjam district due to the fact that it happened to be the home district of the Chief Minister, very few of the general public knew why the bandh call had been given. The Rudra Sena had given the bandh call against the recent State government’s decision of harsh punishment against persons who attacked doctors on duty in hospitals. People came to know about the bandh call only through the posters pasted and press notes published in local news papers. But the organisers of the bandh claimed that their bandh call had evoked mixed response. They were too happy that the schools were closed and passenger vehicles were off road between Berhampur and Bhanjanagar. But it was panic which had made this happen. The petrol pumps had decided to close down their shutters due to bandh call. As fuel was not available and insurance companies are not ready to pay for damages caused during bandh calls, the owners of buses, minibuses and trucks preferred to keep away their vehicles from roads. Similarly the schools did not want the small children to be caught in the problem of bandh and ordered for cancellation of classes.

Only a handful of supporters of the organization moved around the city on bikes and burnt cycle tyres at some squares at early morning. It was an irony that they never tried to make people understand why they had given the bandh call with the same enthusiasm. Its for sure in this election season bandh calls provide publicity to the organisations and their leaders, for which they are meant. But these leaders fail to understand that it is the panic of uncertainty and mayhem that usually prompts success of a bandh.

Adjoining Kandhamal is the worst sufferer of frequent bandhs by known and unknown organisations in recent past. According to a local journalist of Kandhamal, Asshok Mohanty, during last six months people of the district have suffered due to more than 20 bandh calls. In most of the cases panic caused by media publicity, few posters and pamphlets led to success of these bandhs. This is a common practice in south Orissa where Maoists usually use their psycho-terror tactics through pamphlets, banners and media hype to give calls for bandhs, which at times is topped by their violent activities like land mine blasts or murders.

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