Nine districts in western parts of Orissa on Monday observed complete shutdown in protest against the deaths of two students of an engineering college in Balangir district.
Road and rail traffic came to a complete halt. Seven trains, including Howrah-Koraput Samaleswari Express and Amritsar-Vishakapatnam Hirakund Express, were stranded at different railway stations due to the shutdown. The Sambalpur Railway Division cancelled three other trains including Sambalpur-Puri Express, Sambalpur-Rayagada Express and Sambalpur-Rourkela DMU.
Roads wore a deserted look. All government offices and business establishments were closed. The district administrations in Balangir, Sambalpur, Bargarh, Jharsuguda and Sundergarh ordered closure of the schools and colleges.
The shutdown was called by Orissa Students’ Congress. More than 200 Congress workers were arrested during the shut down, the police said.
However, the shutdown was also supported by the BJP, district bar associations of all districts, merchant associations and other organisations.
On Saturday, Shakti Prasad Mohanty (18), a student of Sushri Institute of Technical Education (SITE), was crushed to death by a police van in Balangir town, about 360 km west of Bhubaneswar . His death triggered large scale violence in the town.
Thousands of students went on the rampage, setting afire the police station, four trucks, two buses and damaging several shops. Two other students were critically injured in the baton charge by the police.
Orissa chief minister has announced an ex-gratia of Rs.500,000 each to the families the two students who died. He also ordered a judicial probe into the incident by a retired Orissa High Court judge.