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Dalit girl reprimanded for riding cycle through village
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August 24, 2005 20:10 IST
Last Updated: August 24, 2005 20:28 IST

Her only fault was that she rode her bicycle to college through a village to attend college.

Mamata Nayak, who wants to be a teacher, was reprimanded by upper caste villagers for daring to ride on the village road.

"I for sometime thought I will stop going to college though it meant my dream of becoming a teacher will lay in tatters", the 15-year-old girl said.

Students of the local BJB College today staged a dharna outside the sub-collector's office here to protest the incident while demanding security for the girl.

''It is a case of oppression on Dalits and if it happens in a village on the outskirts of Bhubaneswar what can you say of other places,'' said one of the agitating students.

Bahujan Samaj Party state chief Akhyay Mallick said his party would submit a memorandum to the governor on this issue.

Mamata, belonging to Narasinghapur village under Khandagiri police station, is the first girl from her caste in the village to be a matriculate and had taken admission in a college, seven km away. But as she cycled her way to college, passing through the nearby Nanput village, local residents objected.

The villagers convened a meeting where the matter was discussed and Mamata's father Ghanashyam Nayak and other family members were warned against allowing the girl to ride through their village.

The disheartened girl stopped going to college for a couple of days. Then encouraged by others, she resumed. However, when she reaches Nanput she walks with her bicycle through the village and rides it after crossing it.

She has no option but to go take the route at least during the monsoon. ''I cycled to college everyday as it is not possible to walk seven kms to reach it ... I think there should be a separate road to our village,'' Mamata said.

At the college, she has never felt any discrimination among the students. ''Students belonging to upper castes received me warmly. I have never felt that I come from a poor, Dalit family. I am happy in the college,'' she said.

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