Baiga tribals' march for land pattas
Raipur, Feb 17 (UNI) More than five thousand primitive Baiga today marched to the capital of Chhattisgarh, demanding land pattas and withdrawal of false cases registered under the Forest Act.
Violating prohibitory orders under section 144 CrPC clamped around the high security Raj Bhavan and Chief Minister's residence in the Civil Lines area, they reached the residence of Chief Minister Dr Raman Singh to raise their grievances.
But police pushed them back using mild force and 20 tribals, including women, were arrested for violating the prohibitory orders, official sources said.
Other tribals were herded together at the Subhash stadium, where they continued the sit-in till their long-pending demands were conceded, Baiga Mahapanchayat leader Ms Rashmi said.
Primitive Baiga tribals, whose population is dwindling forcing the Union government to launch special schemes for their welfare, inhabit mainly the Achanakmar and Bhoramdev sanctuaries in Bilaspur and Kawardha districts. Their eviction from the sanctuaries led to the latest protest and they walked to the state capital covering few hundred kilometres.
Armed with the traditional bow and arrows, the Baigas want the state government to take a decisive step for their settlement.
According to Ms Rashmi, the Baigas were being harassed by the Forest officials even when they collect fuelwood and they are being framed in many false cases. Their main demands included granting of land ownership rights, stopping their eviction from forests, withdrawal of cases under the Forest Act and rehabilitation of those displaced by Daldali bauxite mines.
Agitated over the police action against the Baiga tribals, senior Congress leader and former state minister Ramchandra Singhdeo met the agitating people at the stadium this afternoon and offered them financial assistance. State Pichhada Varg Sangathan leader Suraj Nirmalkar also offered assistance to them.