Odisha tribal couple gets Modi’s R-Day invite

Updated - September 23, 2016 12:46 am IST

Published - January 16, 2016 06:05 pm IST - Bhubaneswar

They live atop the Bonda hills in Odisha’s Malkangiri district, segregated from the mainstream and have rarely stepped out of their environs, so an invitation to attend this year’s Republic Day parade in Delhi was beyond their dreams.

For Dhabalu Sisa and his wife Samari, a letter from Prime Minister Narendra Modi inviting them to Delhi for the parade changed everything and they have not stopped beaming since, an official of the Integrated Tribal Development Agency (ITDA) said.

The Bondas are members of the particularly vulnerable tribal group (PVTG).

Mr. Sisa and Ms. Samari reside in Bandiguda village under Mudulipada gram panchayat of Malkangiri district. The couple may be first from the community to go to Delhi and shake hands with President Pranab Mukherjee and Mr. Modi, the official said.

“Meeting the President and the Prime Minister is something we could not have imagined in life. We will use this opportunity to highlight our problems and how the tribe suffer due to the vagaries of nature,” said Mr. Sisa.

Ms. Samari said she would draw attention of Mr. Modi on the poor road connectivity to the Bonda Hills.

The couple have already started preparation for their traditional dress to suit the Republic Day celebration.

Not just the couple, the whole village is ecstatic about the rare honour coming their way. They have been celebrating the invitation for one of their own with non-stop dance and music since the time they first heard about it.

The couple would meet Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik before leaving for Delhi.

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