Staff Reporter

They allege atrocities

They allege that they are socially ostracised

Lok Sangram Manch comes out in support of dalits

BERHAMPUR: Dalits of Sindhaba village in Ganjam district allege that they are facing atrocities and social ostracisation by upper caste people at their village.

Representatives of 36 dalit families from Sindhaba village of Digapahandi block in Ganjam district demonstrated in front of the office of the Berhampur Sub-Collector on Friday. They demanded action against the persons involved in atrocities against dalits at the village. Tribal organisation Lok Sangram Manch has come out in support of these dalits. Hina Nayak, a dalit of the village said on April 7, a group of upper caste people had burnt down four of their houses, manhandled their women and had also injured a person seriously. A police camp has been opened up at the village to avoid further clashes. Till Thursday the male members of their community had preferred to live outside the village due to panic.

The recent attack had occurred over a trivial matter like fishing from the village tank, which the dalits had taken on lease from the local panchayat. Sangram Nayak, another inhabitant of the village said the upper caste people wanted the dalits to take their permission before draining out the tank for fishing.

According to Hina and Sangram, atrocities against them have increased during the past two and a half years. It began when some educated dalit youths declined to perform certain rituals during funerals for some upper caste people at the village. The 36 dalit families were socially ostracised. They were not allowed to fetch water from community tubewells. They alleged that the upper castes had also barred them from shopping from the village shops and bathing in a particular pond at the village.

They handed over a memorandum to Sub-Collector, Bhanskar Panda, demanding arrest of culprits, withdrawal of false cases filed against them, free medical care to the person injured in the attack on April 7 and Indira Awas houses for the four families whose houses were gutted by miscreants.