Orissa Dalits ask CM to allow self-immolation

PTI | 09:10 PM,Oct 05,2010

Bhubneswar, Oct 5 (PTI) Driven out of their homes by a Maoist-back outfit and ignored by the government, several Dalits from Orissa’s Koraput district today demanded immediate rehabilitation or permission for self-immolation.Representatives of the group, who launched a sit-in and hunger strike here, met Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik and told him that around 400 families of Narayanpatna and Bandhugaon areas of Koraput have lost everything after their houses were forcibly occupied by the Maoist-backed Chasi Mulia Adivasi Sangha (CMAS).”Like nomads we have been staying outside villages for a long time fearing physical attack by CMAS activists. We narrated our plight to the chief minister,” Bidyadhar Dehuri of the group told reporters.”The government should either rehabilitate us or allow us to commit self immolation,” he said.The Dalits had staged a sit-in at the state capital last year and also met the chief minister, who had promised to look into their demand for rehabilitation.But nothing has been done since then, the Dalit leader said.They agreed to withdraw their hunger strike following Patnaik’s assurance later in the day.The chief minister has promised to provide at least 300 houses under the state government’s “Mo Kudia” housing scheme meant for economically weaker sections, for which site would be chosen within a week, he said.The displaced families, who lost all their belongings, have been running from pillar to post without food and shelter for support, he said adding the affected people took to odd jobs and daily wage works, while their children are unable to attend schools.



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