Ordinance to ban inhuman rituals imposed on Koragas

DH News Service

BANGALORE, Nov 16

The government will bring in an ordinance to ban certain inhuman practices forced on the tribal Koraga community as part of rituals in Dakshina Kannada and Udupi districts, Social Welfare Minister Kagodu Thimmappa said here on Tuesday.

Speaking to reporters after reviewing the functioning of Karnataka SC/ST Development Corporation, Mr Thimmappa said Mangalore Univesity had undertaken a survey of some of the inhuman practices in vogue in the two districts. Based on the survey, the directorate of tribal welfare had drafted a legislation to ban such practices. The legislation was being examined by the Law Department, he said.

One of the practices listed out for banning was Ajalu, under which members of the Koraga community are made to eat food mixed with a patient`s trimmed hair and manicured nail in the belief that the practice would cure the patient`s illness.

Another practice is to make the Koragas eat food left over by members of the upper caste as part of certain festivals like Kambala (buffalo race). The issue had rocked the Legislative Council in June this year when nominated member D Siddalingaiah had demanded a ban on the system.

The Koragas, one of the most backward of the scheduled tribes, are found mostly in the two coastal districts. Their total population is estimated to be around 19,000. The minister said Rs 3 crore would be spent on their welfare this year. Around 1,500 Koraga families would be provided gainful employment during the current year and over 350 families would be provided with houses with assistance from Housing and Urban Development Corporation, he said.

DEVADASI SCHEME: Mr Thimmappa said under Devadasi Rehabilitation Programme, 12,502 Devadasi women have been identified. Of these, 3,000 devadasis have already been provided with housing facility and another 1,607 of them have been given land. The rest would be given assistance for undertaking self-employment projects, he said.

POOR RECOVERY: The minister said that the SC/ST land ownership scheme, under which landless SC/ST families are being given land with 50 per cent subsidy, was bogged down by poor recovery. Of the Rs 19 crore assistance given to 17,704 familities to buy land under the scheme, only Rs 7 lakh was recovered so far. In order to find reasons for the poor recovery and help them use the land for productive purposes, a survey would be conducted.

Based on the findings of the survey, a package scheme would be introduced for assisting the SC/ST families to make use of the land for earning income. If the land was not being cultivated for want of irrigation, such families would be given assistance for having irrigation facility. The survey would be conducted by the district social welfare officers and would be completed within three months, he said.

Similarly a revaluation of the self-employment projects assisted by the SC/ST Development Corporation would be taken up. He said over 3 lakh unemployed SC/ ST candidates were given assistance to start self-employment projects so far. But, it was not known how many of these projects were operating now. The evaluation would be completed within a month, the minister said.

BC PANEL: Mr Thimmappa promised adequate funds for the Karnataka Permanent Backward Classes Commission. About the socio-economic survey proposed by the Commission, the minister said that the survey would be funded if only there was need for collecting more information on the socio-economic background of backward classes. He said various backward classes commissions which had gone into the issue in the past had collected voluminous information on the subject which could be used as a base for the Permanent Backward Classes Commission to make its recommendations.

Under Ganga Kalyana scheme, 4,774 borewells were sunk to irrigate the land owned by SC/STs. Of these 3,805 borewells were energised while the rest would be energised shortly, he said.

NAGARAHOLE: Mr Thimmappa said the government was committed to rehabilitating the tribals displaced from Nagarahole reserve forests. He did not wish to comment on the alleged obstacles posed by some of the NGOs to shifting of the tribals from Nagarahole. He said it was the government`s responsibility to ensure that all the displaced tribal families were resettled properly.

The minister said Ambedkar Bhavan built in Bangalore would be inaugurated by President K R Narayanan on December 9.


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