Orissa agriculture minister gets bail

Paradip: Orissa`s Agriculture minister Damodar Rout, accused of hurting sentiments of Dalits by uttering the word "Harijan", has been granted bail by a lower court at Kujang in Jagatsinghpur district today.

While allowing bail for the minister, the Judicial Magistrate (first class) of Kujang in Jagatsinghpur district has asked Rout to cooperate with the investigating agency and not to influence witnesses.

The court also cautioned the minister not to utter the word "Harijan" in future.

The BJD leader, who personally appeared before the court furnished a bond of Rs 20,000 and two surety.

While addressing a public meeting in August 2010, Rout had used the word Harijan, which hurt the sentimates of dalits.

One Manoj Kumar Bhoi had filed a FIR at Kujang police station on August 21, 2010 against the minister for his utterances .

Rout moved the lower court after the Orissa High Court denied him an anticipatory bail in the case. However, the High Court had suggested the minister to approach the lower court for a regular bail.

Even the issue was echoed in the state assembly and the minister had clarified that "he will not attend the assembly if the court issues warrant against me."