Tribal communities in Odisha to boycott twin polls

Koraput (Odisha), Mar 10: People belonging to five tribal communities in Koraput district in Odisha have decided to boycott assembly and Lok Sabha polls, protesting against the government's failure to give them tribal status.

Leaders of Dora, Muka Dora, Nuka Dora, Rana and Mali communities under the banner, Koraput Zilla Bana Basi Maha Sangh (KZBBS), said the decision was taken over the weekend.

"Around two lakh voters of our communities will boycott the upcoming twin polls. Many times we have approached both the state and Union governments regarding our demand, but in vain," Secretary of Sangh, Trinath Gamel said.

According to KZBBS president Gokul Chandra Khoda, "Members of the communities are deprived of various benefits meant for tribals. Government should include us in the list of tribals and launch a special project for our development."

People of these communities mostly reside at Pottangi, Semiliguda and Nandapur blocks of the district and make a living for themselves by undertaking minor cultivation and collecting minor forest produce.

Assistant sub-collector (Koraput) Muralidhar Swain said, "It is up to the community members to decide whether they should participate in the elections or not. We cannot force anybody to take part in poll process."


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