Tribal leaders demand job opportunities

In Kerala, tribal activists who have been protesting outside the government secretariat in Thiruvananthapuram for over a month, now say they will begin a fast until death if the state fails to meet their demands for land and job opportunities. The Kerala government, however, says it has had enough of the live-in protest.

The Kerala government, whose offer of one acre per family has been rejected, now says the protest has gone too far. The government has decided that this cannot be allowed to continue. Our law enforcing agencies will take appropriate action, asserted, A K Antony, Chief Minister, Kerala.

Adivasi leaders, who represent Kerala's three-and-a-half lakh tribals, say the government has let them down. They say they will now intensify their agitation and organize protest marches like this one in all districts. C K Janu, leader, Adivasi Protection Committee, said, "The people who have been protecting nature and our forests are now not being acknowledged even as human beings."

The tribals say they will resist any attempt to evict them from their protest venues. Their leaders are also threatening a fast until death if the government does not give in to their demands.

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Referred by: Benjamin P Kaila
Published on:Oct 4, 2001
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