Bhubaneswar: A day after claiming that Jayee Rajguru was not a freedom fighter, Agriculture Minister Damodar Rout today defended himself questioning why Union Minister Dharmendra Pradhan celebrated 200 years of the Paika Bidroha (Rebellion) in 2017, while Rajguru had fought the Britishers in 1804.
“Paika Bidroha, the first freedom struggle, had taken place in 1817 and therefore, Union Minister Dharmendra Pradhan celebrated the 200th anniversary of the mutiny this year. This shows that Centre considers Buxi Jagabandhu-led Paika Bidroha as the first freedom struggle which began in 1817 after Jayee Rajguru’s death,” said Dama.
Adding further Dama said, "Undoubtedly Jayee Rajguru was a great personality and the torch bearer of the Jagannath cult. However, he was not a freedom fighter."
The Dr BC Roy Committee also stated Jayee Rajguru was not a freedom fighter, instead he fought with the Britishers as the latter went back on their promise to give him two Parganas, Dama elaborated.
Supporting Dama, BJD’s Bhubaneswar MP Prasanna Patsani, said, "Rout's remarks are being misinterpreted and he has not said anything wrong."