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Why in News?

  • As a tribute to Mahatma Gandhi, 10 villages in seven panchayats in the Daringbadi block of Odisha’s Kandhamal district declared their habitats untouchability-free.

Background:

  • In the Gramsabha meetings of the seven panchayats, resolutions relating to complete radication of untouchability by pallisabha (smaller village or hamlet councils) in these 10 villages were approved in accordance with the Article-17 of the Indian Constitution (Abolition of untouchability).
  • The villages are: Sundardanda of Pliheri panchayat, Sripanka of Daringbadi panchayat, Ganadkamba and Sikaketi of Badabanga panchayat, Padanketa of Danekbadi panchayat, Sanagudumaha, Sikapata and Jidingmala of Greenbadi panchayat, Budanpipali of Bhramarbadi panchayat, and Penapusi of Sinagabali panchayat.
  • This path-breaking decision could be taken up by these villages, inhabited mostly by tribals and Scheduled Castes, due to a month-long effort by social organisations Jagruti and Antaranga, of Kandhamal.
  • The main indicators of a untouchability-free village are it must have people of different communities and castes; it should not have any physical form of untouchability; and all the public facilities such as drinking water source and community hall are free for everybody to use without discrimination.
  • All religious places such as temples, churches, traditional places for worship should be open to all. All villagers can participate common functions such as marriage, festivals, celebrations and funerals.
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