MALKANGIRI: Protesting the denial of Scheduled Tribe status to them, hundreds of people of the Konda Reddy tribe on Friday took away polling material and ballot boxes in Kamalapadar Booth-7 and Jodaput Booth-8 under Maoist-infested Poplur panchayat of Kalimela block.
Earlier, in a letter to the Collector and Kalimela BDO they had threatened to boycott the polls protesting non-inclusion of their community in ST list.
The tribals entered the booths in groups around 8 am and snatched the ballot papers and boxes from officials on duty, said Kalimela BDO Mohan Chandra Sahoo.
Before the polling personnel could do anything, they decamped with polling boxes, ballot papers and other documents.
However, the polling personnel returned safely with police escort. No polling was reported from booth-5 and 6 under Poplur panchayat and booth-1, 4,10,11,12 and 14 under Kurmanur panchayats, said Kalimela BDO.
More than 5000 Konda Reddy tribes residing in Poplur and Kurmanur panchayats under Kalimela block have been demanding ST status since long.
The villagers claimed that their counterparts in neighbouring Andhra Pradesh enjoy the Scheduled Tribe status while they are denied the same in Odisha.