Gothi Koyas recall the 30-minute horror that ‘wrecked their homes, livelihood’

Members of 36 Gothi Koya tribal families in Tadwai mandal allege that they were attacked by at least 200 forest officials.

Published: 21st September 2017 02:31 AM  |   Last Updated: 21st September 2017 09:43 AM   |  A+A-

The Gothi Koya tribals who were allegedly assaulted by forest officials at NTR Trust Bhavan in Hyderabad on Wednesday | Sathya keerthi

By Express News Service

HYDERABAD: The events that unfolded over half-an-hour wrecked not just their homes, but their livelihoods. Members of 36 Gothi Koya tribal families in Tadwai mandal of Jayashankar Bhupalapally district allege that they were attacked by at least 200 forest officials on Saturday, who destroyed their homes, stripped them, tied them to the trees in the forest and thrashed them black and blue. They were told that they were not supposed to be living on the Jalagalancha forest land. The families migrated from Chhattisgarh 19 years ago and made these lands their home and survive by cultivating food grains.

“We migrated years ago and we have all the mandated identity cards including Aadhar, ration cards and some of us even have voter ID cards. With no prior intimation, hundreds of officials came in tractors and brought down our homes. When the women in the village tried to stop them, they were tied up and beaten with sticks,” recalled 30-year-old Krusham Rashmi, while showing her scarred hands and feet.
Local TDP leaders said these incidents were common, but often go unnoticed. This particular incident came to light after a 19-year-old shot it on his cellphone. “They came out of nowhere and started hitting all of us,” said Madavi Ramu, who shot the video. 

Pointing to Forest Rights Act, 2006, TTDP working president A Revanth Reddy stated that Telangana government had been indifferent towards oppressed classes since formation of the state and this incident is a proof of this. “The Act allows those who have been living on the forest land for at least five years to cultivate them and live on them. These people have migrated years ago and despite having identity cards, they have been asked to leave. What is the need to treat them so inhumanly?”questioned Revanth Reddy. 
The local TDP leaders held a rally in the village and met with the collector, but did not get any response, they claimed. On Wednesday, they handed over Rs1,50,000 to all the families.

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