Correspondent

Sirsi: Over 150 tribal people staged “rasta roko” on the national highway in Yellapur near here and courted arrest on Tuesday to protest against non-enforcement of Scheduled Tribes and Other Traditional Forest Dwellers Act.

They said that they had been traditionally living in forests and their only earning source was forest. They said that they were deprived of their right to live in forests owing to non-enforcement of the Act.

According to president of the District Backward Classes Forum Ravindranth Naik there are 9,10,000 tribal families in the State living in 90,000 hectares of forest land.

In Uttara Kannada district 1,20,000 families are depending on 3,50,000 hectares of forest land, he said.

There was need to provide security for such people, he said and added that it was possible only by enforcing the Act.

The Scheduled Tribes and Other Traditional Forest Dwellers Bill was passed in January this year.

He said that they would intensify their stir if their demands were not met.

John Mingel Siddi of the Tribal People Welfare Committee and Roju Siddi led the protest.

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