Woman teacher's death triggers protests in Odisha

Bhubaneswar, Nov 2 : The death of a woman teacher, set afire for allegedly refusing to withdraw a sexual assault complaint, triggered protests in Odisha Saturday with people staging rallies and demonstrations.

A delegation led by state Congress president Jayadeb Jena met Governor S.C. Jamir and submitted to him a memorandum demanding a probe into the incident by the Central Bureau of Investigation, while the Bharatiya Janata Party said Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik should resign on moral ground for the increasing lawlessness in the state.

Hundreds of activists of Odisha Jan Morcha (OJM), holding placards and banners came in a procession here and shouted anti-government slogans.

Demanding resignation of the chief minister, they staged a demonstration in front of the office of the police deputy commissioner.

"The teacher had asked for justice many times when she was alive. She had written to all the authorities concerned, including the chief minister seeking protection but no action was taken," Sidheswari Prasad Mishra, the president of OJM's youth wing, who led the protest, said.

Hundreds of Congress workers and leaders blocked a road in Jeypore town of Rayagada district, about 521 km from here.

People took out rallies in Cuttack, Rayagada and Puri. Women also organised candle rallies in different places.

Itishree Pradhan, 28, died Friday in a private hospital in Visakhapatnam four days after she was set on fire in a residential government school at Tikiri in Rayagada district after she reportedly refused to withdraw a complaint of sexual assault she lodged in July against local school inspector Netrananda Dandsena.

She was watching a television show along with some children when the assailant entered the school room, poured kerosene on her and set her on fire. Pradhan had sustained more than 90 percent burn injuries.

Dandsena was arrested Wednesday. The government also suspended a district inspector of school, investigating police officer and in-charge of the police station concerned.

--IANS (Posted on 02-11-2013)

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