Such a move will create fresh trouble, say tribal leaders

A group of Adivasi organisations has criticised the government’s decision to deploy tribal people for anti-Maoist operations and alleged it was aimed at swindling crores of rupees.

What provoked these organisations is the Home Department’s announcement that Adivasis would be deployed on daily wages to fight Maoists. At a press conference in Kozhikode on Saturday, Gitanandan, convener, Bhooparishkarana Samithi, and Mammen Master of Vanavakasa Samrakshana Samithi, said the move to deploy Adivasis in anti-Maoist campaign would lead to killing of tribal people by Maoists.

A statement released at the press conference indicated it was supported also by C.K. Janu, president, Adivasi Gothra Maha Sabha; E.P. Kumaradas, convener, Adijana Sabha; and C.N. Baburaj of Guruva –Attappadi Adivasi Sanghatana. It would also provide Maoists an opportunity to score political points and give rise to allegations that Adivasis were being used as human shields, they said. It would also lead to unrest and violence in tribal colonies which could throw up fresh problems for the government, they claimed. While drawing attention to reports that Rs.11 crore had already been spent in Kerala to fight Maoists, they demanded an inquiry by a Central agency into the details of the ongoing anti-Maoist crackdown going on in the State.

The tribal groups also accused both LDF and UDF of reneging on their promise to restore alienated tribal land and alleged government Chief Whip P. P. George had been behind the most recent attempts to ‘betray tribal people.’ Another example of the ‘government’s anti-tribal attitude’ was construction of a building to house the veterinary university complex at Pookode on land which the Centre and Supreme Court had cleared for use for rehabilitation of tribal people. While alleging that there had been sustained attempts by political parties to grant title-deeds to ‘those who had grabbed tribal land’ in the past, these organisations also announced a Satyagraha in front of the Secretariat on December 10.

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