Malkangiri tribals on dharna to press for demands

Malkangiri: Braving biting cold, tribals are on a dharna in Malkangiri to press for a 13-point charter of demands including tribal status to Kondareddy community, scrapping of Polavaram project and proper rehabilitation of people who had deserted Maoist fold.

The indefinite sit-in by people belonging to Kondareddy Adivasi community and Malkangiri Zilla Adivasi Mahasangha (Federation of district tribal associations) in front of the Collectorate entered the third day on Sunday.

District Collector D Prasanta Kumar Reddy today invited leaders of the protesters for talks and promised to fulfil demands under district authority and take up other matters with the government, President of Kondareddy Adivasi community Ramarao Majhi said.

However, the tribals drawn from inaccessible Maoist-affected areas decided that unless the government met all their demands they would continue the dharna, he said.

“We will intensify our agitation and paralyse government offices unless the government fulfills our demands”, President of Paraja tribals Ghenu Muduli said.

Their demands include Kondareddy community be given the status of tribals as in neighbouring Andhra Pradesh and Chhattisgarh, Koya-Baisya-Kamara community be treated as Koya-Kamara with tribal status in government documents instead of the present general caste status, construction of ‘pucca’ road and rail linkage between Jeypore in adjoining Koraput district and Malkangiri.

The demands also entailed scrapping of the Polavaram multi-purpose project, proper rehabilitation of tribals who had deserted the Maoists and improvement of health and education in the district.