Reported by Simanchal Pattnaik
Phulbani, Dec 21 :
The Kui Samaj Samanwaya Samiti ( KSSS ) has called a ‘bandh’ in Kandhamal district on the Christmas Day, December 25, to protest government indifference over their 34-point charter of demands. This decision was taken at a meeting of the KSSS executive body here today.
However, the district collector N.Thirumala Nayak has assured Christian leaders that the administration will hold talks with the KSSS and make sure nothing goes wrong with the biggest annual celebration in Kandhamal.
The KSSS had not taken part in the peace meeting convened by the district collector earlier this week to ensure a peaceful and trouble-free Christmas across the district.
The KSSS had earlier set December 20 as the deadline for the government to meet their demands. The demands include proper inquiry and settlement of cases of land grabbing, identifying and punishing those who have used fake caste certificates to get government jobs and reservation of 50% of government jobs as well as seats in technical and training institutes in the district for people of Kandhamal.
Interestingly, Lambodar Kanhar, the well-known Kui leader who calls the shots in KSSS, did not brief the media after their meeting.
President of the KSSS Biswanath Pradhan and his deputy Manoj Mallick told media persons that although the state government had met 3 of their 34 demands, it was unwilling to consider the rest.
“We had given them a deadline but there is no word from either the district administration or the state government about meeting the rest 31 of our old demands. We have, therefore, decided to call a bandh on December 25,” KSSS president Pradhan said.
The collector N Thirumala Nayak told OST that he is aware of the bandh call given by the KSSS but exuded confidence that he would be able to persuade the KSSS to withdraw their decision in the larger public interest.
The KSSS as well as Kui Samaj observe ‘Kui Martyr’s Day’ on December 25 in memory of Khageswar Mallick who was killed at Barkhama village near Baliguda in December 2007 following a communal conflict.
However, the president of Kui Samaj Tirthanand Jani has made it clear that his organization will not hold public rallies or disrupt Christmas celebrations while observing the Martyr’s Day.