Government asked to file affidavit on tribe securityApril 10th, 2008 - 10:54 pm ICT by admin
Bhopal, April 10 (IANS) The Madhya Pradesh High Court Thursday asked the state government to file an affidavit by Friday in a matter related to providing security for the Pardhi tribe so that they can vote in the April 12 by-poll. A petition filed Monday by Anurag Modi of the Samajwadi Jan Parishad sought protection for Pardhis - a denotified nomadic tribe - so that they can cast their vote in the by-election being held for the Betul parliamentary seat.
Advocate General R.N. Singh said the Pardhis had not sought protection and it was not possible to provide security to each and every voter since the authorities were already busy in election arrangements.
Advocate N.S. Kale and Abhijeet raised the issue of electoral rights of the tribals.
Chief Justice A.K. Patnaik asked the government to file by Friday an affidavit on what it thinks about the tribals’ right to franchise.
Villagers set the houses of Pardhi tribals on fire in September 2007 after one of them was accused of raping and killing a woman in Multai tehsil (sub-district) of Betul district.
After their houses were burnt down, around 300 members of the Pardhi community, including women and children, were lodged in two camps run by the Betul district administration on the ground that they may face violence if they go back to their villages.
“More than six months have passed since the people belonging to the Pardhi community have been living in camps and no efforts have been made by the administration to rehabilitate them,” said Modi.
He sought security on the ground that candidates like Masod Sukhdev Panse of the Congress, Sunilam of the Samajwadi Party and Hemant Khandelwal of the Bharatiya Janata Pary threatened the Pardhis of dire consequences if they returned to their villages.