Karnataka Adivasi Hakkugala Samanvaya Samithi, Belthangady taluk in association with other organisations, staged a protest near DC office on Friday seeking Deputy Commissioner to issue title deeds to the tribals residing inside the forest and on the fringes of forest within a month.
Samithi co-convener Gurushanth said that even 72 years after India’s independence, tribal families were residing without road and electricity.
“The Scheduled Tribes and Other Traditional Forest Dwellers (Recognition of Forest Rights) Act, passed in 2006, to empower forest dwellers in accessing forest produce and titles for land in forests was not implemented effectively in Karnataka,” he charged.
“Of 2.26 lakh applications for the title deeds received by the officials, only 12,000 applications for title deeds had been cleared,” he said.
He said there is a conspiracy to evict Malekudiyas, indigenous tribals of dk district, from Banjarumale of Neriya village in Belthangady taluk and acquire their land. The disputes should be solved and title deeds should be distributed to all the 45 Malekudiya families residing in Banjarumale.
Though Forest Rights Act empowers tribals to collect and sell forest produce, Hasalaru tribes in Kodachadri had been prevented from collecting forest produces like honey, medicinal plants, nutmeg, cinnamon and others. Instead, the right to collect forest produce was awarded to a contractor. The tribals have not come from outside the country. It is the duty of the government to protect the rights of the tribals, he said.
The activists said the status of tribals, residing inside Kudremukh National Park (KNP) remained the same due to the negligent attitude of officials, who implement the welfare programmes.
They demanded road, electricity facilities to Malekudiya, Marati Naik and Koraga colonies in the district. There is a need to instil confidence in the tribal community, to bring them to the mainstream of the society, the protesters said.
The forest and DC manna land encroached by the rich and influential persons should be reclaimed by the government.
Members of Jilla Malekudiya Sangha, Taluk Yuva Marati Seva Sangha, Taluk Malekudiya Sangha, and Malekudiya Yuva Vedike took part in the protest.