Dalits demand minister's dismissal, arrest in Orissa
Bhubaneswar: The Orissa Dalit Mahasabha on Thursday demanded immediate dismissal and arrest of senior minister Damodar Rout, accused of passing derogatory remarks against some people representatives and officers belonging to the scheduled caste community.
Five dalit organisations held a rally here under the banner of Orissa Dalit Mahasabha where leaders cutting across partylines demanded Rout's resignation and arrest.
Rout, an MLA from Paradip assembly segment and also vice-president of the ruling BJD, at a public meeting in Kujang of Jagatsinghpur district on August 18, had allegedly made derogatory remarks against the local MLA, MP and an officer taking the name of their caste.
A complaint case was also registered against Rout at Kujang police station on charge of violating rules under the Scheduled Caste and Scheduled Tribes (Prevention of Attrocities) Act, 1989.
"I have already expressed regret over my utterance at the Kujang meeting. I had no intention to hurt anybody. Today's rally is politically motivated," Rout told reporters. Jagatsinghpur MP Bibhu Prasad Tarai of CPI, however, said: "there is no point in saying sorry after committing a crime. As a senior minister Rout should have been cautious in his words."
In a memorandum to the chief minister, the Dalit forum pointed out that their community was being harrassed under his regime. "Rout's public utterances shows the attitude of the state government towards the dalits," Tarai said.