PUCL plea to protect tribals
ERODE: The People's Union for Civil Liberties (PUCL) has appealed to the National Human Rights Commission (NHRC) and National Commission for SC/ST Welfare to protect the rights of tribals living in Thuvaipathi village inwestern ghats.
PUCL state joint secretary and advocate S Balamurugan said on Sunday that over 150 tribal families were living in that village for the past several years and they were depending on the agriculture land in the area for their livelihood.But in 1986 itself, a private firm got permission to utilise the area for setting up a zoological park and this made the authorities to stop even distributing the B-memo. The concern itself purchased some land in and around the tribal hamlets and tried to vacate the tribals from the government poromboke land.
While the problem persisted in the area for the past several years, some months ago it started erecting wire fencing around the area and thereby preventing the tribals to enter the lands. When the tribals opposed it,the police foisted cases under non-bailable sections against several persons in the area.
He also cited the promise by officials that the project would not come through until the people stopped their resistance. By this way, they also supported the people during last May 2000. But, unfortunately, during March 2001, a tribal's house was ransacked and 21 tribals were imprisoned on flimsy ground.
He said as per the norms, the tribals were empowered to enjoy their rights on the lands and if anyone tried to uproot them from their settlement, they should face the SC/ST Prevention of Atrocities Act. So, the NHRC and the SC/ST commission should intervene in the matter and stop the zoo project envisaged for the benefit of those residing in urban areas.
He also appealed to the new government to reconsider the sanction given for the project and help the tribals there to live peacefully. He also appealed for a law prohibiting others to purchase the lands of tribals.