SAMBALPUR, MAY 17
Aimed at countering Biju Janata Dal’s Mahanadi Mahasangram Abhiyan, Opposition Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) launched Mahila Surakshya Yatra from Samaleswari Temple here today.
Hundreds of women led by Radharani Panda, MLA of Brajarajnagar and district president of the party in Jharsuguda began the yatra from Samaleswari Temple. The yatra will traverse across four districts of the State and will culminate on May 29. “The aim of the yatra is to save women and minor girls from heinous crime like rape and also to awaken the State government which has been apathetic towards this sensitive issue,” said Panda. She said that the punishment rate in Odisha for such crimes is lower than the national average. “While punishment rate is 18.9 percent at the national level, it is only 6.2 in Odisha—only one-third of the national average,” she lamented. Panda attributed this to poor policing system and lack of seriousness on the part of the State government to deal with such crimes.
The legislator further alleged that persons close to BJD and the Chief Minister are involved in such crimes. She cited the example of a BJD worker who had allegedly raped a woman inside the party’s office on the pretext of providing her a house under Pradhan Mantri Awas Yojana. Today’s Yatra that began from Sambalpur will cover different places of the district along with Bargarh, Deogarh and Jharsuguda districts and finally end at Rengali of Sambalpur, the organizers said.