Orissa Dalits ask CM to allow self-immolation

Driven out of their homes by a Maoist-back outfit and ignored by the government, several Dalits from Orissa`s Koraput district on Tuesday demanded immediate rehabilitation or permission for self-immolation.

Bhubneswar: Driven out of their homes by a
Maoist-back outfit and ignored by the government, several
Dalits from Orissa`s Koraput district on Tuesday 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.

PTI

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