Jajpur: In resort to pressurise the State Government to act their demands, about seven lakh members of Sabar community in 10 coastal districts of Odisha have threatened to abstain from the the ensuing three-tier panchayat polls to protest the refusal of the State Government to grant them tribal status.

The decision was taken at an emergency meeting organised by Sri Sri Nilamadhab Adivasi Sangh (SSNAS) at Palar near Dharmasala.

“We have been demanding tribal status to our community for many years. But the state government has been paying no heed to our demand. Hence we have been deprived of various benefits meant for the tribals. We will take to the street if our demand is not fulfilled soon,” said Kusa Nayak, Jajpur district President of SSNAS.

It is noteworthy to mention that people belonging to this community mostly reside in Jajpur, Cuttack, Kendrapara, Puri, Jagatsinghpur, Khurda, Balasore and other coastal districts in the State and Jajpur alone has 1.64 lakh Sabar population, highest in Odisha, sources said.