Tribal Huts Burnt Down; Activists Blame Foresters

Published: 08th March 2015 06:01 AM  |   Last Updated: 08th March 2015 06:01 AM   |  A+A-

Tribal Huts Burnt

SRIKAKULAM: Alleging that the forest personnel were violating the rights of Tribals, the Human Rights Forum (HRF) on Saturday demanded action against people who allegedly burnt down the huts of Adivasis on the outskirts of Gadabavalasa at Hussainpuram panchayat of Veeraghattam mandal in Srikakulam district on February 28.

They alleged that the forest personnel ransacked the huts of Savara tribals who belong to the Particularly Vulnerable Tribal Groups (PTGs), without valid reason and wanted the erring personnel be prosecuted under the SC, ST (Prevention of Atrocities) Act, 1989.

A four-member HRF team led by its state secretary VS Krishna visited Gadabavalasa on Friday and found that 56 Adivasis, including women and children, had migrated to Gadabavalasa from their native village of Eethamanuguda in Poothikavalasa panchayat, a few weeks ago. They set up 15 thatched huts in the agricultural field belonging to Thota Dalayya and his brother Somulu of Gadabavalasa after obtaining their consent, and were eking out a livelihood as labourers.

However, the forest department personnel allegedly ransacked the huts and burnt them down on February 28. The forest personnel allegedly took away the belongings, including crowbars and axes, of the tribals.

“The land where the Adivasis had their huts was not a reserve forest but a revenue extent classified as D patta assignment,” said Krishna.

The HRF urged the Srikakulam district collector and the project officer of Integrated Tribal Development Authority at Seetampeta to ensure the economic and social rehabilitation of the tribals.

However, district forest officer B Vijay Kumar denied the allegations and said that the forest personnel had nothing to do with the incident. He said that the agricultural land belonged to the revenue department. Meanwhile, Veeraghattam mandal revenue officer MV Ramana visited the spot after the tribals lodged a complaint with him. A report is likely to be submitted to the district collector in a couple of days.

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