HYDERABAD: Tribal organisations have expressed their anguish over Chief Minister K Chandrashekar Rao’s announcement on October 9 that tribals cultivating podu lands in the middle of the forest would be shifted to the boundary areas.
Taking a serious objection to the CM’s statement, Adivasi Employees Welfare and Cultural Association (AEWCA) has written to the Governor of Telangana and the Union Minister for Tribal Affairs, accusing the State government of trying to dilute the constitutional protection given to tribals living in scheduled areas. The activists felt that the move would not only kill the individual rights of tribals, but also their community rights.
They said that primitive tribal groups like Kolam and Chenchu would lose their identity, which is protected under the constitution, if they were removed from their habitat. “By holding the local MLAs responsible for overseeing land issues in agency areas, the State is going against the spirit of the PESA Act and Forest Rights Act,” said G Venkata Ramana, president of AEWCA.