Andhra Pradesh

Thousands of tribals gather for land rights in Visakha Agency

Thousands of Adivasis attending a public meeting at Paderu in Visakhapatnam Agency on Wednesday.

Thousands of Adivasis attending a public meeting at Paderu in Visakhapatnam Agency on Wednesday.  

Public meeting held in Paderu to demand proper implementation of constitutional provisions and legislations

Thousands of Adivasis congregated in Paderu in Visakhapatnam district on Wednesday at a public meeting to demand that constitutional provisions and legislations for the protection of their rights be implemented in earnest.

Tribals from 11 mandals of the Agency area of Visakhapatnam as well as from East and West Godavari, Srikakulam and Vizianagaram districts assembled at the Junior College grounds in Paderu for the Adivasi Atmagaurava Sabha to put forth their demands and assert their rights.

The Joint Action Committee for Protection of Rights of Adivasis (JAC) demanded that the land held by non-Adivasis as properties and business establishments in contravention of the Land Transfer Act be returned to the Adivasis.

The flashpoint of Wednesday’s protests was the reservation of seats in the upcoming local body elections for non-Adivasi communities. The JAC had first protested in January against the same and had obtained a stay from the High Court on the issue.

The movement is gaining steam and the JAC plans to take it forward with awareness campaigns and further protests.

‘Tourism a nuisance’

The JAC also raised concerns about the increasing number of tourist establishments held by non-locals in Araku valley. They alleged that the presence of these establishments is destroying the pristine environment and the culture of the valley, creating an unsafe environment for women, and is intruding upon their privacy. Among other major demands put forth are: detection and deletion of illegally-held ST certificates in the region, and removal of non-Adivasis holding jobs reserved for Adivasis.

Speaking at the meeting, Ramarao Dora, convener of JAC said, “Land and resource grabbing in the Fifth Schedule region by the non-Adivasis has increased over the past decade. Despite protective legislations, little has been done to protect our rights.”

“Tourism is becoming a nuisance for us. Not only that, Adivasis only get daily wage jobs or lower rung employment at these establishments whereas the non-Adivasis make profits out of it by holding it under benami ownership,” he said.

Former Union Secretary E.A.S. Sarma spoke about the primacy of the Gram Sabha in the Fifth Schedule areas. Among those who attended and spoke at the public meeting in solidarity were V.S. Krishna of Human Rights Forum and JAC functionaries from Munchingput, Pedabayulu, Araku and Ananthagiri.

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Printable version | Feb 20, 2020 1:05:09 AM | https://www.thehindu.com/news/national/andhra-pradesh/thousands-of-tribals-gather-for-land-rights-in-visakha-agency/article30804642.ece

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