KALPETTA: In a setback to over 100 families who were evicted after encroaching forest land in Thovarimala near Sultan Bathery, the Wayanad district administration has informed them that land could not be provided to them immediately as most of their names do not figure in the list of landless tribal people.
After being evicted, the tribal people are on agitation in front of the Collectorate here. District Collector A R Ajayakumar directed those agitators, who do not figure in the list, to register themselves as landless. He added that distribution of land for the newly-registered persons would begin only after assigning land for around 5,000 tribal people who have already registered.
The district administration has decided not to engage in any further discussion with the agitators. With the District Collector washing his hands of the matter, the agitators have sought government intervention. “If the government does not pay heed to our plight, the agitation will be intensified till we make our demands heard,” said M K Dasan of Communist Party of India (Marxist Leninist) Red Star. Meanwhile, the police have begun a probe in the wake of Intelligence reports that the agitators had the firm backing of Maoists.
Three persons were arrested in connection with encroachment. Their bail plea will come up for hearing on Friday. The families, including tribespeople, under the aegis of the All India Krantikari Kisan Sabha (AIKKS) and the Adivasi Bharat Mahasabha, feeder organisations of the Communist Party of India (Marxist Leninist) Red Star, had occupied the vested forestland spread over 100 hectares at Thovarimala on Monday morning demanding two acres for each landless family in 13 panchayats. They had erected tents on the land. The Forest Department had seized the land from Harrisons Malayalam Ltd in the 1970s.