KENDRAPARA: It has been more than four years since as many as seven dalit women of Namtara village within Aul Assembly segment suffered gun shot injuries in police firing for protesting opening of a liquor shop in the area. But the memories of the incident that took place on International Women’s Day on March 8, 2015 are still fresh in their minds. Sasmita Jena, who sustained bullet injuries in her abdomen and leg said several leaders of political parties and senior Government officials had visited the village and assured action against the personnel involved in the incident. “But nobody has yet been punished,” she said.
Sasmita said the leaders had also promised to close all Indian Made Foreign Liquor (IMFL) outlets in the area. “But they have failed to keep their promises,” she added. She said the women of the village have made it clear to the politicians visiting the area during campaigning for the polls that they will not vote for any party as none of them is committed to banning liquor in the State.
Sasmita still has a bullet lodged in her abdomen. “Doctors at the SCB Medical College and Hospital, Cuttack said it is safer to leave the bullet in my body as removing it may prove fatal. Now I am living with a foreign object in my body and suffer from severe pain,” she said.
Another victim, 35-year-old Purnima Mallick, who sustained gun shot injuries on her left leg said fed up with the nuisance created by their spouses who were addicted to liquor, women from Namatara and its nearby villagers had ransacked the licensed foreign liquor shop.
“Due to the Governments’ thirst for revenue and involvement of ruling party leaders in the liquor business, numerous families are being ruined. We have decided to boycott the polls if no political party comes forward and commits to ban liquor in the State,” she said. Unchecked flow of liquor has wreaked havoc in the area and this has led to rise in anti-social activities, said 18-year-old Rita Jena while showing the bullet wound she sustained on her leg. “Drunkards harass people and create nuisance. Police seem to have turned a blind eye to this. We do not want alcohol, we want water,” she said.