Odisha Sun Times Bureau
Muniguda (Rayagada), Apr 1:
Protesting the pro-industry policy of the Odisha government that they allege has been handing over their land, forest and water to multinational companies, tribals of Rayagada district have threatened to boycott the ensuing Lok Sabaha polls.
A decision to this effect was taken at a meeting organized by the Niyamgiri Surakshya Manch at Manda village of Munikhol panchayat under Muniguda block here on Monday. The Manch, however, decided that it will allow those who will vote against the BJD government in the state to exercise their franchise.
The meeting, presided over by the president of the Manch Bari Pidikaka, was attended by over 500 representatives of the SC, ST and backward communities from Patraguda and Munikhok panchayats in Muniguda block and Kurli and Chatikana panchayats in Bissam Cuttack block.
The tribals alleged that the state government has been taking retaliatory action by remanding them to judicial custody and branding them as Naxals if they raise their voice against the multinational companies that have deprived them of their legitimate rights on their forest, land and water.
They also alleged that while the Dangaria Kandh Development Agency set up by the state government has remained a non-starter as the tribals belonging to this primitive tribe have been deprived of basic amenities like primary education, women and child development, electrification, health and drinking water.
The meeting also urged the state government to stop coercive measures by the CRPF personnel and the local police against the Dangaria women and the villagers during combing operations in their areas.