Relocation blues; Odisha villagers launch fast unto death

Odisha Sun Times Bureau
Kendrapara, Feb 10:

With their ongoing protest entering its sixth day, over 200 people from Bagapatia and Charigharia villages under Gupti panchayat in Odisha’s Kendrapara district embarked on a fast unto death agitation from today for fulfilment of their demands.

bagapatia agitation

The villagers sitting on a dharna in front of Rajnagar Tehsil office since February 5 have been demanding release of a village patriarch Manguli Charan Parida, who was arrested late on February 4 night by the police, which they claim is illegal.

‘‘Our demands include regularisation of patta issued to landless people by Kanika Tehsildar in 1974 and 1991 by Rajnagar Tehsildar,  permanent patta to landless villagers taking refuge in Bagapatia and Charigharia villages after the 1971 cyclone, declare Bagapatia a revenue village, withdrawal of cases against Bagapatia villagers and unconditional release of village head Manguli Charan Parida among others,’’ an agitator Sitanath Manna said.

Meanwhile, at least 20 agitators have taken ill as they have been squatting in front of the Tehsil office out in the open. They are being treated by the doctors of Rajnagar community health centre (CHC).

With the agitating villagers refusing to budge, no district administration official has reached the spot to intervene in the matter to sort out the issues, which has irked the villagers further. Moreover, the administration has registered three cases against around 300 people from these two villages, sources said.

This coercive action to stem the agitation of the villagers has evoked resentment among them. They have petitioned the Chief Minister, Rajnagar Tehsildar, Revenue minister, Leader of Opposition, Kendrapara MP, District Collector and the local MLA to draw their attention.

Notably, the district administration has registered cases under section 107 of the Cr Pc at the SDJM court against the villagers of Bagapatia and Charigharia, who are on a dharna in front of the tehsildar office at Rajnagar resisting relocation and resettlement of Satabhaya villagers in Bagapatia.

It may be recalled that the agitators had detained the Rajnagar tehsildar, sub collector and other staff inside their office for about 20 hours before they were released on February 5.

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