Bhubaneswar: Chairman of the National Commission for Scheduled Castes (NCSC), Dr. P. L Punia, on the second day of his two days tour to Odisha on Friday, observed that Health and Family Welfare Minister Damodar Rout should not continue in the State Cabinet, as his presence in the Cabinet was sending wrong message to the society.
Dr. Punia also asked Odisha Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik to decide whether to retain Rout in his Cabinet who had already been found guilty and charge sheeted for making casteist remarks against the scheduled caste.
It is noteworhty to mention that Rout had made casteist remarks against the scheduled caste at a public meeting in Jagatsinghpur district in 2010. Annoyed over Rout’s utterance, some dalit organisations lodged FIRs against Rout under Scheduled Caste and Scheduled Tribe (prevention of atrocity) Act, 1989. They had also moved the NCSC seeking justice.
Later Rout had filed a petition before the High Court pleading for quashing of the FIRs against him. The Court has given a stay but has not given a clean chit to Rout.
Dr. Punia also directed the State Government to re-investigate the case relating to the alleged protection given by former minister Pradeep Maharathy to Prashant Pradhan alias Pasei, the main accused behind the Pipili gang-rape case.
Apart from this, Dr Punia also expressed his displeasure after reviewing the performances of the State Government in the matter of providing constitutional safeguards to the Scheduled Caste.
The State Government has miserably failed in providing education, reservation, utilisation of special component plan, checking incidents of atrocity cases and in convicting officials responsible for the lapses, Dr. Punia said.
Source: 360 NS