Reported by Santosh Jagdev
Bhubaneswar, Apr 16:
Several dalit and tribal women were injured, one of them seriously. when police resorted lathi charge on them as they tried to march towards Naveen Niwas in the Odisha capital this afternoon.
Sources said, hundreds of protesters, under the banner of the Odisha unit of National Confederation of Dalit Organisations (NACDOR), organisation fighting for the cause of dalit’s right, were on the way to Naveen Niwas for demonstration for fulfilment of their demands when they were stopped by four platoons of police force led by local IIC near Sishu Bhawan Square.
As they tried to breach the police cordon, police resorted to mild lathi charge in which several protesters were injured. Police later rushed a protester, identified as Rina Bhoi, a dalit from Khordha district, to the Capital Hospital as she sustained multiple injuries.
Protesting the police action, the demonstrators later staged a road blockade between Rajmahal Square and Sishu Bhawan Square for more than four hours demanding fulfilment of their demands.
Talking to OST, Pratap Sahu, a NACDOR member, said their major demand is allotment of 4 decimals of land with pattas to the dalits and tribals who have been living on government land since many years.
In the absence of land pattas, the dalit families have failed to apply for caste certificate. As a result, they are deprived of educational and other government benefits,” Sahu alleged.
He also said though the state government has assured the dalits of fulfilment of their demands, it has done nothing since last four years.
To protest the government apathy, members from Khordha, Rayagada, Puri, Cuttack, Jajpur and Bolangir have joined to stage dharna at the aforesaid place.
“If the government fails to fulfil our demands, we will gherao Naveen Niwas, “said Ashok Mallick, president of NACDOR.
“We have lodged a complaint against Khordha collector Niranjan Sahu and some bureaucrats with the Capital Police station here for failing to provide justice to the dalits,” Mallick said.
The dalits, who had made six attempts to gherao Naveen Niwas earlier, were stopped by the police, he said.
“But we will not stop till our demands are not fulfilled,” he warned.