Alleged casteist remarks by minister spark row in Orissa
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Last Updated: Wednesday, August 25, 2010, 21:52
Bhubaneswar: Alleged "objectionable and casteist" remark made by Orissa Agriculture Minister Damodar Rout triggered a row today with Congress as well as Scheduled Caste and Dalit leaders demanding his immediate resignation.

Chairman of State Congress Scheduled Caste (SC) cell, Ripunath Seth told reporters here that Rout should resign forthwith for making derogatory remarks about Jagatsinghpur MP Bibhu Prasad Tarai, local MLA Bishnu Das and Additional District Magistrate Upendranath Mallick.

Rout, a senior leader of the ruling BJD, was accused of making objectionable remarks at a public meeting in Kujang in Jagatsinghpur district last week about these three and referring to them as "Harijans."

"If Rout fails to step down, he should be dismissed as he has used derogatory remarks about leaders and a government official by making casteist remarks despite holding a constitutional post as Minister," Seth said.

When contacted, Rout said he has already expressed regrets for his remarks. "What else can I do now. I am sorry for the remarks made by me inadvertently," he said.

A case has also been registered against the minister in Kujang police station under provisions of SC and ST (Prevention of atrocities) Act and investigation launched into the matter, Deputy Superintendent of Police (DSP) G D Pradhani said adding three separate complaints had been lodged against Rout in this regard.

Orissa State Scheduled Caste and Scheduled Tribe Youth and Students' Council has also demanded dismissal of Rout for his remarks, while Dalits staged a dharna in Jagatsinghpur seeking his resignation.

Bureau Report

First Published: Wednesday, August 25, 2010, 21:52

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