CM promises to call meet on Diddalli, tribals cancel stir

H S Doreswamy slams dist admin, says it's 'suppressing' fight for justice

Tribals displaced from the Diddalli reserve forest in Kodagu district have cancelled a proposed protest after Chief Minister Siddaramaiah promised to call a meeting to look into the demand to rehabilitate them.

The chief minister called up freedom fighter H S Doreswamy who visited Diddalli on Monday, and promised to call a meeting soon to look into the matter. Briefing journalists here on Tuesday, Doreswamy urged the district administration not to clamp prohibitory orders on Diddalli, saying the tactic was “an attempt to suppress the fight for justice”.

“Outsiders have bought coffee estates running into thousands acre in Kodagu district. They have also encroached on public land. Why are they not being evicted?” he asked. “If Diddalli is a reserve forest, the state government should write to the Centre to hand over the land to the displaced tribals.”

Senior advocate A K Subbaiah said, “The district administration is trying to suppress the rights of tribals by clamping prohibitory orders. The deputy commissioner is misusing the law. Tribals have withdrawn the proposed agitation following the chief minister’s assurance.”

Subbaiah alleged that though the state government was making an honest attempt to resolve the problem, there was a conspiracy against the tribals at the district level. “Pseudo-environmentalists and forest department officials are misleading the government,” he said.

Relocation

He continued, “The authorities must explain why the tribals cannot be relocated into their homes in Diddalli. There are enough documents to prove that it’s a ‘Paisari’ land. Forest officials who claim the land is a reserve forest are now saying it’s a protected zone. If it’s a protected zone, the displaced tribals should be relocated into the very homes they were evicted from.”

‘Spl court on land-grab a non-starter’
Freedom fighter H S Doreswamy has expressed displeasure at the failure of the special court which was set up nine months ago to settle cases pertaining to land-grabbing. “Officials have failed to transfer even a single case pertaining to the land-grabbing to the special court. In the last 40 years, government land was looted in the state. But officials haven’t woken up,” he said. 

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