Tribals of Hunsur and H.D. Kote have reiterated their long-pending demand pertaining to the implementation of the Karnataka High Court orders of 2014 directing the government to rehabilitate 3,418 tribal families.
They also sought the implementation of the Forest Rights Act, 2006, which would entitle them to collect minor forest produce, give access to place of worship, and burials inside the forest.
Though the two demands are being raised frequently, the successive governments have turned a deaf ear so far. The tribals also want upgradation of hamlets into revenue villages so that civic amenities like roads, streetlights, water, UGD etc. could be provided.
As a last resort, the tribals plan to launch an indefinite agitation in Hunsur in support of their demands in the weeks ahead and will also network with different hamlets to form a pressure group.
Sreekanth of Development through Education, an NGO working for tribal rights, said this was the best opportunity for them to bring pressure on the MPs and MLAs to implement their demands as elections are due in 2023 and their votes matter.
With respect to the Karnataka High Court order on tribal rehabilitation, Mr. Sreekanth said a report submitted by a committee constituted by the court, identified 1,106 tribal families in Hunsur taluk, 1,801 families in H.D. Kote taluk, and 511 families in Virajpet taluk of Kodagu district, who needed rehabilitation. The officials have already completed the assessment and submitted a report to the government and it needs to be placed before the Cabinet for approval, he added.
The issue was also raised before Revenue Minister R. Ashok during his visit to Bheemanakolli in H.D. Kote taluk last week and the outcome is awaited. A group of tribal people met the Minister and he responded favourably on issues related to the revenue ministry, said Mr. Sreekanth.
But on internal reservation for Adivasis, the Minister said that it was not in his domain and had to be discussed in the Cabinet before taking any decision.
Though the demands were placed before all the Chief Ministers who have visited Mysuru, from H.D. Kumaraswamy to Siddaramaiah, B.S. Yediyurappa, and Basavaraj Bommai, nothing has transpired so far, said Mr. Sreekanth.