Need for panel for nomadic communities stressed

Dr Mallikarjuna Manpade, Karnataka Alemari, Are Alemari Mattu Vimukta Budakattugala Yuvajana Okkoota state president, speaks at a convention in Mangaluru.

There is a need to constitute a commission for nomadic communities, said Dr Mallikarjuna Manpade, president of Karnataka Alemari, Are Alemari Mattu Vimukta Budakattugala Yuvajana Okkoota.

“A commission is needed to overcome the problems faced by the nomadic communities and to help the society to identify the communities,” said the president. He was speaking at a nomadic convention (Shillekyatha community), organised by DYFI Dakshina Kannada district unit.

‘Rights neglected’

“Nomadic communities are not restricted to one particular area. For their livelihood, they make some place as their home. Although the government announces a slum-free country, the nomadic communities living in tents have not been provided basic facilities. The rights of the nomadic community members are also neglected,” he said with worry and added, “In such a scenario, there is a need for a commission to work for the betterment of the nomadic communities.”

Dr Manpade also said that identifying castes and professions of nomads is a challenge. Through the commission, the problems related to caste and profession faced by the communities can be studied, he pointed out.

“The Shillekyatha community members in Dakshina Kannada – including in Mangaluru – are engaged in tattooing, stitching kaudi (making quilts with sarees and leftover cloth) and doll play. In addition, they are engaged in fishing on the banks of rivers and rivulets. To give them a base, there is a need to take up their cause at state-level,” he suggested.

Funds unused

The president added that the Shillekyatha community members need a permanent roof over their head. “When Siddaramaiah was chief minister, a sum of Rs 130 crore had been earmarked for a nomadic cell. Unfortunately, a majority of the amount has remained unused. Owing to lack of original documents, the authorities are facing inconvenience in issuing caste certificate to the nomadic community members,” he explained.

Activist Dr Krishnappa Konchadi said, “The nomadic community members should educate their children.”

DYFI state president Muneer Katipalla said that the nomadic community members are not strong socially, politically and educationally. There is, therefore, a need to support the community, he stressed.

Shillekyatha community members Dharmaiah and Lokesh Swamy said that they have been eking out a living by fishing in rivers for the past 45 years. “We want the government facilities to reach us. The community members have been living in tents at seven locations in Mangaluru,” they informed.

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