Dhenkanal: The Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) is observing a 12-hour dawn-to-dusk bandh here protesting the murder of party activist Salman Rout.

While vehicular movement has come to a standstill in the town, business establishments downed their shutters. Supporting the bandh, all private and government schools have remained closed. However, after police intervention heavy vehicles including trucks are seen plying on NH-55.

Sources said, as a precautionary measure, police arrested BJP leaders Rudra Narayan Pani, Krushna Chandra Patra and several other party activists.

“The ruling BJD is responsible for the unrest in Dhenkanal. We have never seen such a situation in our life time. As the State is going to polls in a few days, the ruling party is playing nasty politics to get votes. Minister Prafulla Mallick should apologise for this,” Pani said.

Reacting to this the minister however said the party in not involved in the case.

“I have always said that our party is not harbouring anybody in the matter. Whoever has committed the crime will be punished by law. Since the accused has been arrested in the matter the police will take necessary action,” he noted.