Goa tribals demand release of leaders

August 9th, 2011 - 3:39 pm ICT by IANS  

Panaji, Aug 9 (IANS) Over 10,000 tribals descended upon the Goa capital here Tuesday demanding the release of five of their leaders arrested by the police on charges of rioting and attempt to murder during a tribal rights agitation in May.

The protestors, including women and children, marched to serve a grim reminder to Chief Minister Digambar Kamat to release the leaders, said Uday Gaonkar, a spokesperson for the United Tribal Associations Alliance, an umbrella body of several tribal groups in the state.

“Kamat’s policemen are harassing tribal leaders. The killers who murdered and burnt two tribal activists on May 25 are running scot free, but tribal leaders demanding implementation of their rights are being tortured by this Congress government,” Gaonkar told reporters here.

Five tribal leaders including two opposition legislators Ramesh Tawadkar and Vasudev Gaonkar, are presently in police custody, facing charges of arson, rioting and attempted murder during the May 25 agitation.

The Goa government ordered a judicial inquiry into the death of two tribal youngsters, Dilip Velip and Mangesh Gaonkar, who were burnt to death after the protests.

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