Tribal leaders get R-Day invite

Tribal leaders get R-Day invite

Vasanthi Nellikaru

Tribal leaders Vasanthi Nellikaru from Naravi in Belthangady taluk and Krishnappa from Kalasa in Moodigere taluk in Chikkamagalur district, have been invited to witness the prestigious Republic Day parade at Rajpath in New Delhi.

Karnataka State Tribal Research Institute (KSTRI) Director Prof T T Basavanagouda said that they had been inviting leaders from tribal communities to witness the R-day parade every January 26, since 2013. The Mysuru based Institute was set up in 2011.

Vasanthi Nellikaru belongs to the indigenous Malekudiya community. She hails from a poor family. Vasanthi was known for her leadership skills since youth. She spearheaded the movement against the eviction of tribals from forest areas. The campaign was launched by Guruvyankere based Nagarika Seva Trust (NST).

Vasanthi however, changed when she had a close encounter with Naxals. “She did not bat an eyelid when the Naxals pointed a rifle at her skull in her tiled house in Kuthlur,” sources in Anti Naxal Force (ANF) told DH.

For years she campaigned demanding compensation for tribals dreaming of a better future for their children and willing to relocate from the forest. Her decade-long efforts bore fruits and hundreds of tribals were rehabilitated.

Vasanthi who will depart from Bengaluru in a private jet on January 21 will return after a fortnight’s stay in the New Delhi. The news of Vasanthi being invited to New Delhi has already spread like a wildfire. Her husband Venkappa Malekudiya, children Kavitha, Sashidar, Rohit and Akhila are elated.

Vasanthi is presently serving as an honorary advisor to Karnataka State Malekudiya Association. Association Organising Secretary Gangadhar Idu has wished and congratulated on being invited to the prestigious R-day parade.

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