Driven out of homes, Dalits knock on CM door
Priya Ranjan Sahu, Hindustan Times
Bhubaneswar, October 06, 2010First Published: 00:03 IST(6/10/2010)
Last Updated: 00:05 IST(6/10/2010)
Orissa Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik finally met evicted Dalit
villagers of Koraput district on Tuesday after a suicide bid by four
of them a day earlier. The Dalits attempted self-immolation when they
were denied an interview with Patnaik. Ironically, a tribal outfit
called Chasi Mulia Sangha (CMS), which has left leanings, drove them
out of their native
soil. The body has connections with the Communist Party of India
an overground political organisation. It is not known if the CMS has
any truck with the Maoists.
Patnaik agreed to provide money from the chief minister's relief fund
for the daily expenses of the families for one month. He also directed
officials to immediately build houses in places where the villagers
wanted to settle.
About 200 people from Bandhugaon block of Koraput, about 600 km
southeast of Bhubaneswar, have been demonstrating here for the past
About 350 families, mostly Dalit, have been herded into seven relief
camps. Their conditions have worsened because the district
administration had stopped food and other forms of support. It was
then that the villagers wanted to solicit Patnaik's help.
Koraput District Collector R.P. Patil said about 500 families had been
displaced by the CMS, but 300 of them had returned home.
"We have provided them assistance and released funds for them to build
houses," he said.
There is unrest for more two years in Narayanpatna and Bandhugaon
blocks because the CMS has launched its agitation of forcibly
occupying land. A few landlords were killed and most fled the place.
The landless who did not join ranks with the CMS were also hounded
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