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Munda Slams BJD

Bhubaneswar: Union Tribal Affairs Minister Arjun Munda on Saturday slammed back the Governing Biju Janata Dal (BJD) for politicising the issue over inclusion of 169 communities into ST list of Odisha.  

He blamed the Odisha Government for non-inclusion of 169 communities into Odisha ST List. “It is not a political issue. It is a constitutional matter. It cannot be resolved by making political statements,” he said.

The state government has to fulfil the constitutional work required for it, Shri Munda said.

The State Government has not submitted a concrete proposal for inclusion of the communities in the ST list, Shri Munda said.

As per process, he said, proper anthropological research is needed to be done about the communities. After examining those, the Centre can include the genuine tribals in the list.   

“In the 120 cases, there is no document, no research is done. If we will take those into consideration after receiving just a piece of paper, the entire India will tell us to make them tribals,” the Minister said.   

“Even, two PVTGs are yet to be included in the tribal list. This is the situation of Odisha. Ask the government, which has been there for a long time, why they have not been included,” Shri Munda told reporters.

In some cases, the Centre has already cleared the proposal while research is going on in some other cases, he added.  

According to sources, the Centre, from his own side, has taken initiative for inclusion of new communities in the ST list. As the BJP may take credit of it, the BJD here suddenly raised the issue and demanded inclusion of 169 communities in the ST list of Odisha.  

Union Minister was here to inform the people about the programmes and welfare measures taken by the Modi Government in the Union Budget 2023-24.

During his press conference, the Union Minister also demanded investigation by an independent agency into the brutal murder of Minister Naba Kishore Das.

He said the murder of the Minister is a major concern for the law and order situation of the state. “If such an incident happens to a minister, then what would be the condition of the common people in the state?” he asked.   

If such a situation arises in between police and a Minister, whom will the common people trust? Union Minister further asked.

Therefore, the case should be investigated by an independent agency so that truth can come out, he demanded.  

Meanwhile, the state crime branch, which is investigating the Minister’s murder case, has got another four-day remand of accused police ASI Gopal Krushna Das (now dismissed).

Crime branch ADG Arun Bothra briefed justice J.P Das about the status of investigation. Justice Das, a retired judge of Orissa High Court has been appointed to monitor the high-profile case.   

Justice Das said he was briefed about the status of investigation in the case and overally, it is going in the right direction. However, he is yet to see the documents. He also informed that he will soon visit the crime spot at Brajarajnagar in Jharsuguda district.