Kendrapara, April 19 (LocalWire): Seven Dalit women and girls who suffered gun shot injuries four years back during a police firing at Namatara village under Aul Assembly seat while protesting a licensed foreign liquor shop in their village, have decided to boycott the polls.
‘Four years back while protesting the establishment of a government liquor shop in our village, we were fired at by the police.
Several leaders cutting across political parties and senior government officials had assured us that they will take necessary action. But no one has been penalised yet.
They had also promised to close all the Indian made foreign liquor shops in our area. But they failed to keep their promise and therefore, we decided that we will only vote for the party that bans liquor in the state,’ said 34-year-old Sasmita Jena of Namatara who suffered bullet injuries in her abdomen and leg.
‘One of the bullets is still lodged in my abdomen. Doctors at the SCB Medical College and Hospital, Cuttack, said it would be fatal if they attempted to remove the bullet. Now I am living with a foreign object in my body and often suffer severe pain. Many leaders are campaigning in our village and are trying to entice us to get our votes but we refused each one of them as they are not in favour of banning liquor in the state,’ she added.
‘Fed up with the habit of the men, who are always consuming liquor, the women from Namatara and its nearby villages had ransacked the licensed liquor shop on International Women’s Day, 2015.
The government doesnt seem to be interested to stop the flow of liquor as it gets revenue from the shops as several ruling party leaders are involved in this business. But several poor and innocent families are being ruined due to this,’ said Purnima Mallick who sustained injuries in her leg and thigh.
‘If we do not find any party who is sincere enough to ban liquor in the state, the villagers, led by us women, have decided to boycott the elections,’ she added.
‘Anti-social activities have gone up in rural areas and drunkards are harassing common people at night. Police in many areas turn a blind eye to this illicit trade. We don’t want alcohol, we want water. I suffered bullet injuries in my leg, said Rita Jena, who was only 14-years-old then.
‘On the eve of elections, villagers of Namatara, with a population of 1200, decided to boycott the poll, said Srikant Nayak, a social worker from Aul.