Tribals to take out jatha to B'luru on Apr 7

Dalit activist Jignesh Mevani to flag off rally seeking rehabilitation of Diddalli dwellers

Jignesh Mevani, Dalit activist from Gujarat, will flag off ‘Bengaluru Jatha’, the rally of tribals from Diddalli to the state capital, on April 7.

The rally also appears to be the snowballing of a movement for the tribals’ justice.
D S Nirvanappa, president of Bhoomi Matthu Vasati Hakku Vanchitara Horata Zilla Samithi, told media on Monday here that the jatha is aimed at convincing Chief Minister Siddaramaiah about the travails faced by tribals in Kodagu district.

“The jatha, which is expected to reach Bengaluru on April 14, will culminate with a convention to mark the birth anniversary celebrations of Dr B R Ambedkar, who is regarded as the champion of Dalits. It will be followed by an indefinite strike,” explained the president.

Nirvanappa blamed Deputy Commissioner Richard Vincent D’Souza for failing to chalk out a solution by arranging for rehabilitation at the same site at Diddalli from where the tribals were evicted recently. “Four months have elapsed but the district administration has still not succeeded in understanding the agony of the evacuees. With the rainy season fast approaching, the tribals stare at a spectre,” he added.

Although the issue was brought to the notice of Social Welfare Minister H Anjaneya in the past, he turned out to be a windbag, without keeping his promise of convening a meeting, the president criticised.

Ameen Mohsin, the Social Democratic Party of India district unit president, accused the authorities of pushing the real issue under the carpet, followed by political conspiracies. Now that the tribals have resorted to meet the chief minister, the district administration is negating the issue, he added.

Tribal leader Appu said, the district administration’s moves in the Diddalli tribals’ matter will result in resumption of bonded labour. “There are about 10 tribal families living in the residence of every estate owner. The officials of the concerned departments, however, have failed to conduct organised surveys and provide the exact and actual figures in order to get the tribals to mainstream,” said the tribal leader.

Another leader Mutthamma said, although the leaders spearheading the cause are accused of misleading others, the attempts made by the officials against the welfare of the tribals are not being highlighted.

Samithi leaders Jayappa and K Monnappa were present during the press meet.

‘Tribals too are humans’

D S Nirvanappa, president of Bhoomi Matthu Vasati Hakku Vanchitara Horata Zilla Samithi, has criticised the behaviour of the district administration towards not just the tribals evacuated from Diddalli but also the people who have stood up for the tribals’ rights and justice.

“People who have supported the cause of the tribals are being looked down upon by the district administration, which has also cold shouldered the tribals’ demands. Tribals too are human beings, yet, they are being treated like animals,” said Nirvanappa.

“Minister Kagodu Thimmappa has clearly instructed the officials to rehabilitate the tribals in their original house sites. The district administration, however, has ignored the orders of the minister too,” criticised the president.

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