Says Forest Rights Act is being violated

Asserting that traditional methods of cultivation, including ‘podu’ (step) cultivation, are permitted under the law, CPI(M) Polit Bureau member Brinda Karat has vowed to spearhead a spirited struggle to enable tribal people secure their rights.

She was addressing a huge gathering of tribal people at the Pavilion grounds here on Wednesday organised by the CPI(M) to protest against the denial of pattas to tribal people for lands under their occupation and foisting of cases against party cadre for fighting for the tribal people’s cause.

Tribal people from across the district took out a large rally which later culminated in a dharna in front of the Collectorate here. Ms. Karat accused the Forest department of blatantly violating the Forest Rights Act in the State by handing over vast tracts of forest lands to the Van Suraksha Samithi (VSS) in the name of community rights.

“This amounts to illegal grabbing of forestland and undermining the interests of scores of Adivasis,” she said. Lack of governance in the State due to the extreme opportunistic politics being pursued by the persons at the helm of affairs had jeopardised the interests of Adivasis and all other marginalised sections, she said, accusing the government of rejecting more than 50 per cent claims of the tribal people under the Forest Rights Act.

Earlier, speaking to reporters she said that eviction and displacement of tribal families was rampant in Andhra Pradesh.

The greatest violence against tribal people is the violation of the Forest Rights Act, she alleged.