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Odisha lawyers' strike turns violent; courts held in jails


Press Trust of India Cuttack/Bhubaneswar
The ongoing lawyers' strike across Odisha took an ugly turn on Monday, as the high court premises turned into a virtual battleground with lawyers of two factions engaging in scuffles, police said.
Following Saturday's split in unity after lawyers of BJD Legal Front decided to withdraw from the strike, Monday witnessed a pitched battle between those owing allegiance to the ruling party and the agitating lawyers.
An unsubstantiated number of advocates, including a woman, two policemen and another youth, were injured in the hour-long commotion, Twin City Police Commissioner Satyajit Mohanty said.
At least four written complaints were received at the local Lalbag police station, he said.
"As per the instructions of the Chief Justice (High Court), adequate police arrangement was made near the court premises. Some incidents took place inside the court, causing injuries to a few persons. We have received four written complaints and the same are now being investigated," he said.
Similar situations were witnessed in district courts at Bhubaneswar, Balasore, Baripada and Mayurbhanj, where lawyers threatened to continue their agitation, which began on August 29, indefinitely until the two policemen, who assaulted a Cuttack-based lawyer on August 28, are arrested.
Meanwhile, over 270 under-trial prisoners (UTPs) languishing in overcrowded jails were enlarged on bail by camp courts held at various prisons.
The camp courts were held as per the orders of the high court in jail premises, where presiding officers along with court staff heard the bail applications of the UTPs.
Sources in the high court registry said the camp courts will continue in all jails of the state during working hours every day.
The lawyers' strike is unlikely to end soon, the sources added.
Following Monday's incidents, opposition political parties, including the Congress and the BJP came down heavily on the BJD government, accusing it of having failed to get the issue resolved during the last two months.
BJD spokesperson P K Deb refuted the opposition charges as false and baseless.

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First Published: Oct 29 2018 | 10:25 PM IST

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