Siddapur : Hundreds of activists from more than 50 different organizations joined tribals in support of their demand for sites and shelter in their protest against the eviction by the forest department recently.
Leading the protestors, senior advocate A K Subbiah said, the tribals are seeking their basic rights and are determined to succeed in their struggle and accused the district in-charge minister of misleading the people by circulating baseless information. He negated the allegation that residents from Assam and West Bengal were among the evicted and protestors and demanded the officials to prove their claim.
Another activist N Sridhar showed displeasure against five state cabinet ministers for not meeting tribals deprived of food and shelter and suffering in severe conditions during their recent visit to the district to take part in progress review meeting. He accused the social welfare department officials of ignoring the problem of tribals working in estates like slaves. Rest joined and accused the forest department officials for taking bribe assuring sites initially and then evicting them without notice and warned, protests will continue across the state till the deprived people get justice.
Accusing the government for heeding to the demands of capitalists and religious mutts while allotting land, the protestors alleged the Deputy Commissioner (DC) of bowing to pressure from politicians and land owners.
They ridiculed the Member of Parliament and the local legislators for paying token visit and compared it to visiting a patient lying on the hospital bed and equated their actions to ‘crocodile shedding tears’.
Around 50 organizations stood in support of tribals and demanded officials’ presence at the protest site. When District Assistant Commissioner (AC) Nanjunda Gowda , Virajpet Tahsildar Mahadevaswamy, Social welfare officer Mayadevi Galagali arrived, protestors took them to task. An elderly tribal Muthamma came forward and asked the officials ‘Aren’t we human beings like you?’ and demanded suspension of officials who assaulted the hapless tribals.
Responding to the demand, Social welfare officer Mayadevi Galagali said, ”The issue has been discussed with the district in charge minister and the DC and assured of giving them all amenities if revenue department provides them paisari land.” Within in a month of occupying the post, Mayadevi claimed to have given 200 site documents to the homeless in the district.
In the entire melee, few tribals in deep anguish were seen trying to convey their plight to officials in the hope of finding answers.
AC Nanjundagowda assured tribals of solving the problem within a month’s time as few places have been marked for allotting sites for all evicted tribals. Not satisfied by AC’s response the protestors shouted slogans against them and demanded the presence of DC and district in charge minister and continued their protests.
Huge police presence was seen to provide adequate security at the protest site where leaders from more than 50 different organizations were present to lend support to tribals.