Odisha Sun Times Bureau
Kendrapara/Rajnagar, Feb 8:
The administration in Odisha’s Kendrapara district has resorted to coercive action to stem the agitation by villagers of Baghapatia under Gupti panchayat to protect their homes and hearths.
The district administration has registered cases under section 107 of the Cr Pc at the SDJM court against the villagers of Bagapatia and Charigharia under Gupti panchayat, who are on a dharna in front of the tehsildar office at Rajnagar.
While the administration has registered cases against 27 persons of Bagapatia village, including the village patriarch Manguli Parida on Friday, and 17 persons of Charigharia village.
The Rajnagar tehsildar on Saturday issued notices to all the 44 persons in this connection. They have been asked to be either present or represent themselves through their counsels in the SDJM court on February 13 the notice said.
The notice further directed them to furnish a security bond of Rs 5,000 each, besides an undertaking that all the 44 persons will maintain peace for a period of one year from the date of execution of the bond.
Villagers of Bagapatia and Charigharia villages are on a dharna in front of the tehsil office at Rajnagar since February 5 following the arrest of Manguli Charan Parida on the night of February 4 by the police, which they claim is illegal.
More than 200 villagers from Bagapatia, including men, women and children, are on dharna braving the chill of the winter night for the last three days protesting Parida’s arrest and demanding protection of their homes and hearths.
The agitators had detained the Rajnagar tehsildar, sub collector and other staff inside their office on February 5. What has particularly irked the agitators is that this was the only time since the agitation began when the administration had held discussions with them.
Meanwhile, a woman Archana Mondal of Bagapatia, who was picketing along with other villagers under the open sky, has delivered a baby boy at the Rajnagar CHC on Saturday. She was taken to the CHC after she developed labour pain at the agitation site. Those on dharna have named the baby ‘Andolan’.
These villagers are resisting relocation and resettlement of Satabhaya villagers in Bagapatia.
It may be noted here that a team comprising Kendrapara Sub Collector Kanhu Charan Dhir, Additional Sub Collector Gagan Bihari Sahoo, Tehsildar Kshirod Kumar Behera and Revenue Inspector (RI) Sanjib Kumar Sahoo had visited the relocation site at Bagapatia on January 28 with bulldozer and one platoon police force.
The district administration officials has identified 132. 97 acres of land on which fencing was to be done and illegal encroachment razed for relocating villagers from Satbhaya, which is threatened bu sea erosion.
The Bagapatia village patriarch Parida, along with over 300 of his supporters, blocked their entry and prevented them from performing their duties. Rajnagar Tehsildar Kshirod Kuamar Behera filed a written complaint with Rajnagar police station against Manguli.
Acting on the complaint, Rajnagar IIC Bijay Kumar Mallick picked up Manguli from his house well past midnight and deployed two platoons of police force in the village.
As is usual with politicians to make hay while the sun shines, the agitation by the Bagapatia villagers has gained the support of the block Congress president. Not to miss out on the opportunity, a former district president of the BJD too has pledged support to the cause.