Dalits stage protest

Dalits of Ganguru in Arkalgud taluk on Sunday staged a protest against the Forest Department and succeeded in sending back staff members without planting trees in the reserved forest land, which they cultivated for decades.

The protesters, who were freed as bonded labourers in 1994, have been demanding a grant of land for cultivation. They cultivated a part of Gubbali Reserve Forest near Goruru, despite opposition from the department. The department took over the forest land amidst protest by them on April 1.

As the department had planned to take plantation work in the land on Sunday, the families staged a dharna. They maintained that they would not allow the department to plant trees arguing that they had cultivated the land for decades. The staff members returned without taking up any work.

As many as 91 people were freed as bonded labourers in 1994. They had been demanding land since then. The government allowed them to cultivate a portion of the reserved forest land all these years. As the Forest Department took back the land, the district administration assured the families that alternative land would be granted to them. The families staged protests and appealed to the Deputy Commissioner to grant land to the families.

M.G. Pruthvi, district convener of Dalit Hakkugala Samiti, said the State government had not yet rehabilitated the people. “Now with the lockdown, they are in distress with no job. The Forest Department should not have taken back their land in the first place,” he said.

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Printable version | Jun 16, 2021 8:52:28 PM | https://www.thehindu.com/news/national/karnataka/dalits-stage-protest/article34466530.ece

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