Thirty dalit houses torched in Odisha

Thirty dalit houses torched in Odisha

Over thirty thatched houses belonging to dalits were set afire allegedly by upper caste people at Lathore in Bolangir district, police said today.

The arson followed a clash between two dalit youths and as many youths of an upper caste family over an incident of theft of a shirt from a cloth store allegedly by a poor dalit boy yesterday, Director General of Police Manomohan Praharaj said.

About 50 people set fire to the houses after driving out women and children. They even blocked roads to prevent entry of fire tenders to the area.

"They attacked the fire tenders and damaged machinery and water pipes while preventing fire brigade personnel to douse the fire. Even the police personnel were not allowed to go inside when the houses were burning," Additional Superintendent of Police, Srikant Mishra said.

Terming the incident as "tragic", Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik said more than forty people were arrested and the victims were provided relief at temporary camps.

"Appropriate action will be taken against the culprits involved in setting fire to dalit houses," he said.

About 120 policemen were deployed at Lathore village. Police were also deployed at the relief camps housing dalits, Praharaj said.