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.