Declare tribal belt as scheduled area

THIRUVANANTHAPURAM, OCT. 13. The Adivasi-Dalit Action Council has decided to intensify its agitation demanding a categorical assurance from the Government to distribute land to the landless tribals within a specified timeframe and draft a legislation to declare the tribal belt as scheduled area.

The council convener, Ms. C. K. Janu, told presspersons here today that the `Gothra Sabha' meeting here on Sunday would give a final shape to the course of the agitation.

She said that informal talks are going on with the Government to find an amicable solution. The talks are being held at the initiative of the Agriculture Minister, Ms. K. R. Gouri.

The council had submitted a proposal to the Government to identify the land and implement an imaginative tribal development programme. The Government move to suppress the agitation using force was condemnable. Police arrested the tribals who tried to put up huts in Thodupuzha and Pathanamthitta as part of the agitation.

They were denied permission to hold the agitation in a peaceful manner. This showed that the Government lacked a democratic approach to the agitation, she said.

The Chief Minister, Mr. A. K. Antony, should clarify on what grounds the Government was trying to crush the agitation. The Government had consented to grant 42,000 acres of land only after 48 days of the agitation.

Had the Government taken an initiative earlier, the strike could have been settled within days, Ms. Janu said. It was the determination of the Adivasis and Dalits and the intervention of some social and cultural activists which compelled the Government to take the decision.

Mr. Antony should honour the promise he had given to the cultural leaders, she said.

Meanwhile, a delegation led by the Indian Federal Democratic Party leader, Mr. P. C. Thomas, MP, today called on the tribals in front of the Secretariat and expressed solidarity.

Mr. Thomas later met Mr. Antony and urged him to settle the agitation at the earliest.

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Referred by:: Benjamin P Kaila
Published on:14 oct, 2001
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