Urging the Union and all State governments to protect the constitutional rights of the tribal people, members of the tribal and indigenous communities passed a resolution listing out their various demands at Ramanagaram on Sunday.
The Karnataka Adivasi Rakshana Parishad, a tribal welfare organisation, had organised a meet of tribals near the Government College on Bengaluru-Mysuru highway in the town in connection with 21st World Adivasi Day.
Members of 50 tribal communities from across the State, owing allegiance to the parishad, attended the meet.
The meet strongly opposed the alleged outright assault on the constitutional rights given to the tribal people, while it urged the State government to take measures to make the Western Ghats a naxal-free region.
As per the 2011 Census, though at least 42.49 lakh tribal people are living in Karnataka, they are deprived of their constitutionally guaranteed rights. And, a majority of them are even today leading nomadic life, the speakers at the meet lamented.
The State government should honour the achievers in the tribal communities with ‘Adivasi Siri’ award and constitute a board/corporation for the welfare of tribal people, was one of their demands. The others included launch of special schemes to uplift the primitive tribes ‘Jenu Kuruba’ and ‘Koraga’, announcing support price for forest goods, and construction of ‘Adivasi Bhavan’ in all the taluks and district centres.
The meet also urged the Union government to accord the status of ‘Primitive Tribe’ to Chenchu (residing in Andhra Pradesh and Telangana), Irular (Tamil Nadu), Kathodi/Kathakari (Gujarat and Maharashtra), Kattunayakan (Kerala and Tamil Nadu), Thoda (Tamil Nadu) and some other tribes.
Varsity at Kodagu
One other major demand the participants put forward was that the government should establish a varsity at Kodagu or Chamarajanagar to study the tribal people and their lives. The government should withdraw all cases filed against tribal people, and issue them caste certificates, the participants added.
Members of the Siddi, Jodugatte Irulaiga, Pardi, Malekudiya and some other communities mesmerised the audience with their scintillating performances of various forms of art.
A rally depicting tribal culture was taken out from the KSRTC bus stand to the programme venue.
Energy Minister D.K. Shivakumar inaugurated the meet and urged the tribal people to make use of the State government-sponsored programmes. The government is committed to working for the uplift of the tribal communities, he added.
Malavalli MLA, P.M. Narendra Swamy, lauded Chief Minister Siddaramaiah for allocating Rs. 15,000 crore in the budget for the welfare of SC and ST communities.
Professor K.M. Metry of Hampi Kannada University and parishad president M. Krishnaiah were among those present.