Bhubaneswar: The trip to New Delhi started on a high note, but ended in a nightmare for 80 Odisha dancers in the national capital.
Bajasal folk dance guru Dhyanananda Panda and his troupe were the only group from Eastern India to perform at the Republic Day parade on Rajpath.
The Prativa Anusthan troupe from Odisha’s Kalahandi district had taken part in the parade through the Eastern Zonal Cultural Centre (EZCC), Kolkata under the Union Ministry of Culture.
They gave an impactful performance that drew huge appreciation from all quarters.
Flushed with the success, the dance troupe members boarded two buses en route to their place of stay near ITO Square in Delhi around 12.30 pm.
And then trouble started. They got information that their route had turned into a battlefield between protesting farmers and policemen.
They then took an alternative route through Mansingh Road, which was also found to be blocked. The escort police party advised them to stay inside the bus till normalcy was restored.
The 80-member troupe in two buses was stuck on Mansingh Road for over five hours as protesting farmers went on a rampage, attacked policemen and vandalised public property before laying siege to the Red Fort.
The troupe, which included 28 girls, couldn’t even have lunch despite being hungry after the performance. “We were stranded near Bikaner House. All the members were scared when we came to know about the violence. Thanks to EZCC officials, our dancers could get some dry food like samosa. We left the place with police escort around 6 pm,” Panda recalled.
Later, Union PNG and Steel Minister Dharmendra Pradhan and Tourism and Culture Minister Pralhad Singh Patel met the troupe members and regretted the inconvenience caused to them.
“The ministry officials were in regular touch with the group and ensured their safe return from the venue,” Patel said.
The team finally returned home to Odisha by Hazrat Nizamuddin-Visakhapatnam special train on Thursday, The New Indian Express reported.