Jajpur: Members of Sabar community
in 10 coastal districts of Orissa have threatened to boycott
the ensuing three-tier panchayat polls to protest the refusal
of the state government to give them tribal status.
"We will not participate in coming panchayat polls and
will not exercise our franchise till our demand is fulfilled.
Tribal status to our community is a long-standing demand, but
the state government has done nothing in this regard," said
Baman Nayak, state president of Sri Sri Nilamadhab Adivasi
He said the decision to abstain from panchayat polls was
taken at a meeting held at Palar under Dharmasala block in
Jajpur district last week.
People belonging to this community mostly reside in
Jajpur, Cuttack, Kendrapara, Puri, Jagatsinghpur, Khurda,
Balasore and other coastal districts in the state.
Out of some seven lakh Sabar population in the state,
Jajpur district alone has 1.64 lakh Sabar population, highest
in Orissa, sources said.
"We have been demanding tribal status to our community
for many years. But the state government has been paying
no heed to our demand. Hence we have been deprived of various
benefits meant for the tribals. We will take to the street if
our demand is not fulfilled soon," said Kusa Nayak, Jajpur
district president of SSNAS.
"As a major chunk of population is in Jajpur, the
district will take lead of the community to mount pressure on
the government to take steps for grant of tribal status," said
Kanhu Charan Samal, another leader.