Tamils living in Attapadi area have alleged that they have been selectively targeted by the Kerala government officials who have asked them to vacate from the land bought from tribals, while sparing Malayalees who have also bought land from tribals. However, Kerala officials said they were asking all people who had illegally bought land from tribal people, irrespective of their origin, to vacate the land.
Tamils living in Attapadi said the officials have sent notices asking them to hand over the land which was bought from tribals. As per the Central government Act and subsequent Supreme Court order, the land which was being alienated from tribals should be returned to the tribal people.
Both, Tamils and Malayaliees have bought land from tribals. In 1980, Parliament passed an act saying lands bought from tribals should be returned. When few Tamils challenged this in Supreme Court, the court ordered that over 5 acres of land bought from tribals before 1986 should be returned, R Gopalakrishnan, Advisor of the Tamil Language Minorities Welfare Movement said.
The act and order was not implemented till now. After malnutrition deaths in Attapadi, some political leader and government officials said it was due to tribals not having land. So, the government is now trying to implement the act and get their land back to tribals.
“The government officials are now sending notices to Tamils asking them to hand over the land and vacate. While Tamils who bought the land from tribals were targeted, the Malayalees who bought land from tribals were spared,” he said.
“We have formed Tamil Language Minorities Welfare Movement and planning to hold a meeting on December 18, to discuss the issue. Some leader from the ruling party have assured us of getting an appointment with the Kerala Chief Minister to arrive at a solution,” he added.
Political parties in Tamil Nadu condemned this and said, Tamils have bought this land in compliance with the law, but now been asked to vacate their land.
Condemning this, Kongunadu Munettra Kazhagam general secretary GK Nagaraj said, “Every time election approaches, politicians in the neighbouring State take up issues like the Mullaiperiyar and Attapadi to start targeting Tamils.”
But, major political leaders in Tamil Nadu, particularly in Coimbatore, were not intervening to safeguard the interest of Tamil in Attapadi, as they fear losing Malayalee votes in the district.
But, Palakkad Collector K Ramachandran who refuted this has said allegations that Tamil people are targeted are false and baseless.
“We are taking back the land illegally bought by people from tribals as per the Tribal Land Act. Whoever
is in illegal possession irrespective of their origin will have to face the law. However, there is a propaganda by some people, who want to create problems between the States,” said Ramachandran.