K’taka: Truce called between govt and protesting tribals

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After the video of Tribal women in Diddalli forest of Kodagu, Karnataka, protesting in the nude went viral, the state government has decided to arrive at a permanent solution to the problem.

The Tribals have been allowed to stay put at the Devamachi Reserve Forest for the next three months, during which the government will identify other places for resettlement and rehabilitation.

A video that was allegedly shot on December 7 shows a tribal woman running nude in protest of her home along with the homes of 577 families being razed by the district administration. The razing was part of forest encroachment clearance drive by the government. The video was aired by regional channels on December 18, following which it had gone viral.

Kodagu

A day after the clip drew attention to the plight of over 577 tribal families, the government decided to allow them to continue living in the forest area that has been declared as reserve. Meanwhile, the government will identify land for their rehabilitation and resettlement in near Dubare or Somwarpet towns.

Over 50 organisations had joined the tribal community in their protest against the government. They demanded that they be allowed to continue living in the same forest region.

The truce was called after a meeting of Kodagu in-charge Minister M R Seetharam, MP Pratap Simha, MLA K G Bopaiah and government officials. Many environmental activists had supported the government's move to clear encroachment in the forests to safeguard green cover of Kodagu.

The region's MP Prathap Simha addressing the press said that Devamachi was declared a reserve forest in 1891 and any inhabitation is a violation. "There is adequate land for the construction of houses and resettlement of the tribal community spanning 253 acres in Somwarpet and 53 acres near dubare", he added.

The political leaders also suggested that not all those protesting were people belonging to forest tribes and those working in plantations may have pitched their camps to receive benefits from the government.

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