Reported by Santosh Jagdev
Bhubaneswar, Nov 13:
Hundreds of protesters, most of them dalit and tribal women, owing allegiance to the Odisha unit of National Confederation of Dalit Organisations (NACDOR), who had been on a dharna at Lower PMG here since November 7, faced police action while marching towards Naveen Niwas today.
Two platoons of police force led by local IIC stopped the NACDOR members near Master Canteen Square and prevented them from reaching Naveen Niwas.
In protest, the demonstrators blocked the road connecting Rajmahal square and Vani Vihar square for more than two hours demanding immediate fulfillment of their demands.
Sanjay Ghadei, coordinator of NACDOR Jagatsinghpur unit, said the main demand of the outfit is the allotment of 4 decimals of land along with pattas to the dalits and tribals, who had been living on government land since many years, besides safeguarding dalits and tribals against attocities.
In the absence of land pattas, the dalit families fail to apply for caste certificate. “Dalits and tribals are denied educational and other government benefits for not having a caste certificate,” alleged Ghadei. “Even after our repeated requests to government, there is no reply from them”.
To protest the government apathy, members from Khordha, Nayagarh, Puri, Cuttack and Jagatsinghpur have been on dharna at Lower PM since November 7.
“Yesterday we had a meeting with senior government officials, including Chief Secretary GC Pati, in this regard. The officials had promised us that they would come out with a positive response before 10 am today. But since there was no response, NACDOR members decided to stage a dharna in front of Naveen Niwas,” he said.
“The police have stopped our way. But we will not stop till our demands were not fulfilled,” he warned.
“It is extremely sad that the government is silent even after one of the agitators Pratima Behera (27) of Baraput village of Banki in Cuttack district lost her baby in her stomach due to ill health and another Ramachandra Majhi (65) of Cuttack died of severe cold,” Ghadei said