Bhubaneswar, Dec 23:
The state BJP today demanded the immediate resignation and arrest of School and Mass Education Minister Rabi Narayan Nanda on charges of grabbing agricultural land belonging to a Dalit family at Patraput village of Koraput district.
“The Minister should immediately resign and face arrest for illegally grabbing land of Dalits. The anti-Dalit government should return the land to the actual owner,” said state BJP spokesperson Sajjan Sharma at a press meet here.
Alleging that the Minister had constructed a farm house on the land and funds from MLA LAD had been used for construction of the boundary wall, he said that if the Minister claimed that the land belonged to him, he should prove it by giving sufficient proof.
It is to be noted that a probe by Odisha state unit of National Confederation of Dalit Organizations (NACDOR), a body fighting for dalit rights, has found Nanda guilty of grabbing 12 acres of agricultural land registered in the name of a dalit family in Koraput district.
A four-member team of the NACDOR conducted an on-spot probe on Sunday.
“During our investigation, it was found that the minister has illegally occupied the land of the dalit family. We verified documents and questioned villagers,” said state president of NACDOR Ashok Mallick.
Former Congress MLA Taraprasad Bahinipati has also demanded the ouster of Nanda from the council of ministers for land grabbing.
Earlier in the month, members of the dalit family Hari Pangi, Lali Pangi, Daimati Pangi and Krushna Pangi had sat on a dharna in front of the Jeypore sub-collector’s office, demanding action against Nanda.
However, the Minister has termed the allegations baseless. “The charges are false. I am open to any kind of probe and will abide by the decision of a court or revenue authorities,” he had said earlier.