Report by Badal Tah, Rayagada:
Kashipur, once famous for hunger and resistance to industrial development, is now reeling under police excess ondalit youths
. “Because of the industrial growth due to establishment of Utkal Alumina International Ltd(UAIL) owned by Aidtya Birla, many youths got employment in the company.
Villagers, mostly Adibasis and Dalits
in twenty four villages gave their land to the company after adequate compensation. There is visible development in the area. One such village
called D.Karol mostly inhabited by dalit families lost most of its land resources and enjoyed the fruits of development. When the awareness level of the socially excluded
families from STs and SCs is increasing, the police excess on the youths from these communities is also simultaneously snowballing. It is really unfortunate”, said Sri Anubrat Bara, a dalit youth leader
of the district.
Around hundreds of dalit youths congregated in front of Doraguda Police Station near UAIL to register their protest against excesses done by police sub inspector
Sri Girish Moharana. Sri Kishore Chandra Nayak, an employee in UAIL & a well known harijan youth leader of Kashipur block filed an FIR against the police sub-inspector Sri Maharana
on last Monday.
“I was standing beside my vehicle to check the air pressure. Sri Maharana arrives suddenly and without any warning started thrashing me and dragged me to thepolice station. He used filthy language and abused me and my caste. I was told by the IIC Mr Haiburu for a compromise. While was pondering over hissuggestion, Sri Maharana again started using obscene language
at me”, mentioned the FIR.
He along with the local community members & members of Mahadev Association have demanded a stern action against Sri Maharana and are preparing to appeal to higher authorities if they do not get fast justice. They have even threatened the local police to resort to any kind of democratic means like thana gherao, rallies, road blockade, etc.
The charge leveled against the police sub-inspectoris corroborated by another dalit person named Sri Manabodh Nayak, an employee of UAIL aged about fifty five years from D Karol village.”When I was negotiating with the company authorities regarding ex-gratia
benefit of my daughter Ushabati, who died recently, Maharana arrived suddenly and started giving blows on my face and I became unconscious. I am an innocent dalit person and work as a peon in the company. Iwant justice”, deposed Manbodh before this scribe. Sri Kishore Bag, aged twenty two years, an auto driver, Sri Balki Hial, aged 55 years, an employee of UAILSri Simanchal Garada: all from SC community from D Karol village have similar stories of police torture. “ In the plea of traffic control, Maharana thrashes us in filmy style. Doraguda is a tiny tribal village has shanty market and never faces traffic problems like cities. Atrocities by police is sheer high-handedness by police who wants to establish its hegemony over the innocent dalits and adibasis of the area. It seems, the police has blessings of some gentries in disguise”, said Sri Ananta Kumbhar, an auto driver from Sorisapadara village and affected of police brutality in the area.
The IIC Mr Haiburu refuted all these charges and claims that they had a dialogue with the members of Mahadev Sangha in this regard. But Sri Rajib Nayak, President of the Sangha said that neither he had gone to thana nor he knew of any such dialogue. Though he is not a direct witness of police atrocities on dalit youths, he has heard about few such incidents and vehemently registers his protest of the injustice meted out to local youths. “Many of us are not aware that FIR can be lodged against erring police officials. Fast justice is a scarce commodity now a days. Delayed justice is the m]name when it comes to Dalits and Adibasis from a tribal hinterland. This could lead to law and order situation like Kalinga Nagar’, said Kishore.