Pradeep Pattanayak

Protesting against the block administration’s step-motherly attitude, the sarpanch of Dihudipur panchayat under Pattamundai block of Kendrapara district stopped an Arpan Rath by lying down in front of it. 

As per the allegations of sarpanch Naresh Mallick, the block administration has been discriminating against him because he is a ‘Dalit'.  He is not being consulted before taking any decision with respect to the projects in his panchayat, he said. 

When an Arpan Rath was entering his village today, Mallick and some of his supporters stopped it midway by lying down in front of it, leading to tension in the village. To avoid any untoward incident, police have to be called to the village. 

“I am a Dalit. The block administration has been opposing me. I am not allowed to carry out any work. As the block administration has been ignoring me, I was forced to detain the rath,” said Mallick. 

Also Read: BJP MP Aparajita Sarangi targets BJD over Arpan Rath procession 

When contacted, the panchayat executive officer (PEO) Alekh Pradhan said, “The sarpanch had demanded that the rath’s starting point should be his village. But, as per the rule, a rath resumes its journey from where it stopped the previous night. As it didn’t happen, he staged a protest.”

When asked about the sarpanch’s allegation of caste discrimination, the PEO termed it as baseless.

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