LDF walkout in Assembly over tribal rights issue

CPM led LDF opposition members in Kerala Assembly staged a walkout protesting alleged govt indifference towards tribals.

Thiruvananthapuram: CPI-M led LDF opposition members in Kerala Assembly on Wednesday staged a walkout protesting alleged government indifference towards the 52-day long agitation by tribals in Wayanad for land.

Raising the issue of land rights agitation of tribals, former Tribal Welfare minister A K Balan said the stir in 40 locations in the forest areas of Waynad had reached a very crucial stage and more than 200 tribals including some women were arrested by police.

He wanted the government to take steps to release the poor tribals on bail without any condition. They do not have anything to execute as bond, he added.

Stating that more than 7,000 tribals in the area were without land, Balan charged the government with not taking steps to provide land to the landless tribals.

Revenue Minister Adoor Prakash denied the opposition allegation and described the stir as politically motivated. CPI-M was behind the tribal stir. "CPI-M is using the poor triabls as a shield to attack the government," he charged.

He said the government had decided to purchase land from private parties in the area for assigning to tribals. Negotiations with owners of land identified for the purpose was progressing and Rs.50 crore had been earmarked for the purchase.

He also said steps had been taken to release women tribals arrested in connection with the stir. The men also would be released if they seek bail.
Prakash alleged that previous LDF Government during its five-year term failed to assign even an inch of land to tribals.

Before leading the walkout, leader of the opposition V S Achuthanandan wanted the government to take steps for providing land to the tribals and said Opposition was not satisfied with the initiatives taken it.