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Sharmili Mallick

Paralakhemundi: Holding a placard scribbled 'I want justice from my son', a 87-year-old man sat on hunger strike outside the Gajapati Palace on Wednesday seeking the intervention of the district administration after his son allegedly refused to look after him and occupied the family home in the town.

The elderly man identified as Ram Mohan Patnaik, a retired Hindi teacher, has four sons and a daughter. While his eldest son Ram Gopal Patnaik stays in Paralakhemundi with his wife and children, his other three sons and daughter are settled outside Odisha. Patnaik's wife had died some 22 years back.

Patnaik reportedly has two houses, one near Khunta Sahi on the outskirts of Paralakhemundi where he is presently living alone after his eldest son refused to look after him and the second near Jagannath Temple in the town where Ram Gopal lives with his family.

Patnaik alleged that following harassment by Ram Gopal, his other three sons left Paralakhemundi and settled outside the State. He further added that his eldest son has been forcibly living in his second house and has refused to look after him.

"I make food for myself, my son never asks about my well being. I have two houses and want to lead the rest of my life in my ancestral house near Jagannath Temple. I had earlier staged a strike outside the District Collectorate demanding justice following which the concerned officials assured to take action in the matter following which I had withdrawn the agitation," said Ram Mohan.

"I am back here again on hunger strike as no help was provided by the district collector's office and police administration in getting back my house," added the retired teacher.

However, following assurance from the local administration, Patnaik withdrew his agitation later in the day.

Meanwhile, Bibhuti Patra, a prominent citizen of Paralakhemundi said, "The house is Ram Mohan Patnaik's ancestral home. The family dispute could have been solved through negotiations. He has the right to stay in that house. He is more than 80-years-old and therefore, his son is bound to look after him."

On the other hand, Ram Gopal said he won't vacate the property as he footed the bills for the repair works.

"My father was living with us some years back but later he left the house. I have repaired the house by spending Rs 3.50 lakh and if I leave the house, he has plans to sell it. I will talk to my brothers and father and whatever amount he (Ram Mohan) demands to handover the house to me, I will pay," said Ram Gopal adding that from now on he will look after the well being of his father.

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