Alleged casteist remarks by minister spark row in Orissa

PTI | 09:08 PM,Aug 25,2010
Bhubaneswar, Aug 25 (PTI) Alleged "objectionable and casteist" remark
made by Orissa Agriculture Minister Damodar Rout triggered a row today
with Congress as well as Scheduled Caste and Dalit leaders demanding
his immediate resignation.Chairman of State Congress Scheduled Caste
(SC) cell, Ripunath Seth told reporters here that Rout should resign
forthwith for making derogatory remarks about Jagatsinghpur MP Bibhu
Prasad Tarai, local MLA Bishnu Das and Additional District Magistrate
Upendranath Mallick.Rout, a senior leader of the ruling BJD, was
accused of making objectionable remarks at a public meeting in Kujang
in Jagatsinghpur district last week about these three and referring to
them as "Harijans." "If Rout fails to step down, he should be
dismissed as he has used derogatory remarks about leaders and a
government official by making casteist remarks despite holding a
constitutional post as Minister," Seth said.When contacted, Rout said
he has already expressed regrets for his remarks. "What else can I do
now. I am sorry for the remarks made by me inadvertently," he said.A
case has also been registered against the minister in Kujang police
station under provisions of SC and ST (Prevention of atrocities) Act
and investigation launched into the matter, Deputy Superintendent of
Police (DSP) G D Pradhani said adding three separate complaints had
been lodged against Rout in this regard.Orissa State Scheduled Caste
and Scheduled Tribe Youth and Students' Council has also demanded
dismissal of Rout for his remarks, while Dalits staged a dharna in
Jagatsinghpur seeking his resignation.

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