Udhagamandalam: Under the aegis of the Association of Moundadan Chetties of the Nilgiris, a procession was taken out at Gudalur on Thursday. It was led by Association president M. Narayanan.
Among the hundreds of persons who participated in the procession were many Wyanaadan Chetties and adivasis including Kaatunayakars, Kurumbars and Paniyans and schoolchildren.
The Association's adviser C.R. Krishnan told The Hindu that they had taken to the streets because their genuine grievances had not been redressed, despite submitting numerous petitions to the Government, officials at various levels and representatives of the people over the years.
Listing out their problems, he said that because they were residing in the forest areas of Mudumalai and Nellakottai, their rights were being denied.
For many years the communities had lived there and put up with considerable hardship.
On account of the wildlife and forest related rules development schemes in or near their settlements were not being implemented. Consequently basic amenities had not been provided to them.
A proposal to rehabilitate them at Ayyankolli near Pandhalur was yet to be implemented. Since it was the desire of the elders in the affected communities that their children should join the main stream, the Government should make arrangements immediately to give alternative lands and houses at Ayyankolli.
They also observed a fast at the Gandhi Thidal. Representatives of various associations and political parties spoke at the public meeting, which formed part of the fast.