The proposed mega drinking water project in Bharigada in Kendrapara district witnessed a specter that was enough to attract attention from all quarters. The family of a youth who is believed to have died after his siblings were arrested by police during the protest, have been seen begging for alms to perform the last rites.
Two sisters-in-law, an equal number of underage children and an elderly woman were forced to beg door to door in Achyutapur village under the Rajkanika block of Kendrapara following the alleged death by suicide of the lone winner- bread from Ravindra Mallick’s family after her failure. to release his brothers and sisters arrested for making their voices heard against the drinking water project.
It is relevant to mention here that the Kendrapara police had arrested many agitators, including siblings Shankarshan and Anirudh Mallick from the project site where they joined the protest against the mega drinking water project in Bharigada, citing public order issues, September 12, 2021..
Their younger brother Ravindra Mallick, who worked in a private organization in Bangalore, allegedly committed suicide after failing to secure the release of his brothers from a prison in Bharigada.
The family then went out on the roads to beg, while the other breadwinners are locked up, to carry out the last Rabindra rites in their village.
Grieving Geetanjali Mallick, Rabindra’s widow said: “He was under tremendous pressure to repay the debts he had incurred for the family. Efforts to demand the release of his brothers only worsened his mental health. After his disappearance, we do not even have the money to carry out his last rites according to the Hindu tradition.
Pradeep Mallick, Sarpanch of Bharigada, said: “The family is going through immense turmoil to stay afloat. The brothers are not involved in any form of violence. I call on the government to conduct a thorough investigation into the turmoil in which these young people have been gathered. “
The district administration had blocked banning orders under Article 144 of the CrPC for a period of two months in three Panchayats to speed up work on the mega drinking water project.
Police reportedly arrested more than 35 members of the Kharosrota Bachao Sangharsh Samiti (KBSS) after setting up a roadblock on August 11.
It is relevant to mention here that the proposed drinking water project is supposed to be implemented by drawing water from the Kharasrota river. The KBSS has opposed the mega drinking water project for two years.