Thousands of tribals bring tales of deprivation and miseries to national capital

November 14th, 2007 - 2:59 am ICT by admin  
After traversing over 300 kilometres, the protest march, which had begun in Gwalior On October 2, reached here amidst drumbeats and folk dances.

The non-violent protest march, which is completely imbibed in the philosophy of Mahatma Gandhi, seeks redistribution of land and setting up of the National Land Commission.

The protestors were dressed in their ethnic costumes, with few found carrying bows and arrows as they marched into the national capital, while there were others, whose poverty-stricken conditions stood in sharp contrast to the symbols of the booming economy of the country.

“Today we will reach Ram Lila grounds and from there we will go to Jantar Mantar and Parliament Street. If the government doesn’t take a decision in this we will go on indefinite protest,” said Gyandhar Shashtri, a tribal demonstrator.

The Ekta Parishad, a mass movement for land and livelihood rights, is supporting the procession.

The tribals are the poorest and most marginalised community in the country, with the worst social and health indicators. They make up around eight percent of 1.1-billion country’s population, and have been given special status with separate reservation for the tribal candidates in jobs and education.

These forest dwellers were forced out of their natural habitats after forests were declared as state property in 1947.

Presently, the UPA government is working on a piece of legislation that would allow tribals to stay in reserved forests, but the Bill has faced opposition from different quarters.

Many Left leaders would attend the Sunday’s rally at the Ram Lila Ground, where few members from the Union Cabinet are also expected to be present. (ANI)

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