Vanarmare tribals in Goa yet to be rehabilitated

PANAJI: Nearly a fortnight since their huts in Central Goa were demolished, around 150 people of the Vanarmare tribe, including children, continue to live in the open as the Goa government is yet to rehabilitate them.

Unknown local residents demolished the huts in Nirankal, Ponda taluk, on October 16, when the security machinery of the State was busy guarding foreign dignitaries attending the BRICS summit in South Goa.

Civil society groups, including the Goa People’s Forum (GPF), have expressed displeasure at the State government’s failure to implement an order of the Goa State Human Rights Commission to provide basic amenities to the Vanarmare people.

The government has to respond to the notice issued by the Commission on Tuesday.

Advocate Satish Sonak of the GPF told The Hindu on Sunday that the tribals need electricity, water and shelter on a priority basis. He expressed sadness at the State’s apathy towards the tribals’plight. The police protection provided at the site was the only consolation, he said.

The tribals are squatting outside their demolished huts, and police have provided round-the-clock security. The families are relying on the essential commodities supplied by the activists.

The civil society groups have also been running a campaign on social media to get aid for the tribal people.

The Vanarmare community is among the most vulnerable and exploited communities of Goa; they have been denied access to education, health-care, housing and jobs. They had recently received access to homes in the Bethora Panchayat area of Ponda in Central Goa, amidst hostility from villagers.

The police had registered an F.I.R. against “unknown miscreants” under provisions of the Scheduled Caste/Scheduled Tribes (Prevention of Atrocities) Act, according to Dalit writer and activist Dadu Mandrekar.

The villagers of Nirankal, however, have denied that they demolished the huts of the tribals.

Chief Minister Laxmikant Parsekar has said the tribals would be provided full security.

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Printable version | Jul 28, 2021 1:14:32 AM |

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