Mrunal Manmay Dash

After the promoter of ‘Manababad Sangathan,’ Manas Das, also known as ‘Guruji’, was released on bail, the notorious outfit which was in the news for spreading terror among the innocent villagers in Khordha, has reared its ugly head again.

The issue came to the fore when posters and banners of Das were spotted in several villages under Khordha and Begunia on Utkala Dibasa (April 1). Though the posters did not have the organisation’s name on them, they featured pictures of Das prominently.

To make things even worse, some local villagers and tribes were also seen supporting Das and his organisation despising the government and its alleged failure to address their issues.

A local Rituna Nayak said, “The Sangathan was operating in the past and it is functioning now as well. We can never trust the politicians or officials who have always cheated us. We have organized under this Sangathan for our own interests.”

“The government has done nothing for us. We have joined the Manababad Sangathan under the leadership of Guruji and will contest in the 2024 elections,” said a Ward Member, Akshay Nayak.

Nevertheless, the allegations against the government and district administration do not seem to be false either. There are some villages under those two blocks that do not even have the basic amenities. People are forced to live under thatched houses with broken roofs despite thousands of homes sanctioned under the PMAY scheme for the homeless in Khordha district.

The locals reportedly do not even have drinking water facility, despite repeated complaints to the BDO.

While nobody from the district administration was willing to comment on the issue, Khordha MLA, Jyotirindra Nath Mitra termed Das’ approach as unconstitutional.

“We cannot go beyond the Constitution. I urge Manas Das to refrain from anti-government activities," he said.

Under the aegis of ‘Manababad Sangathan’, Das allegedly forced the Dalits, tribals, and people of backward classes in Khordha and Nayagarh districts to bow before him and pay a certain amount as ‘dakshina’.

In 2019, a video had gone viral where some miscreants were seen brutally thrashing a father-son duo inside a room in Begunia area of Khordha district. Later, it was revealed that the duo was beaten at the behest of the ‘Guruji’, Manas Das after the victims denied joining the Manababad Sangathan.

The Khorda Police finally woke up from its deep slumber on September 2, 2021, and picked up the chief of the organisation, Manas Das against whom a string of allegations of serious crimes including murder, attempt to murder and loot was pending for long.

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