Tuesday, September 01, 2009

Tribal, non-tribal conflicts keep popping up in Orissa

BHUBANESWAR: Resentment of tribals against non-tribals cornering their benefits is growing gradually in the State, taking violent form in Narayanpatna block in Koraput district.

Even though the situation is limping back to normalcy with the passage of time, the incidents of the last two months in the block, which is also a Maoist-infested area, has led to non-tribals leaving the area in fear. Reports reaching here said that the tribals are now slowly returning land forcibly acquired by them from some non-tribal families.

While the State Government has constituted a high-level committee to solve the problems which mostly are land related, the non-tribals are not yet fully confident of returning to their villages.

Elsewhere also, the situation is slowly turning serious. Though the situation has not aggravated like in Narayanpatna, rallies taken out by the tribals from time to time have put the district administrations on the defensive. Tribals in several districts are demanding that those who have usurped their benefits should be identified and condign punishment should be initiated against them. The State Government has made a beginning in Kandhamal district where the problem was identified as the root cause behind the riots which claimed more than 40 lives.

Persons who had submitted fake certificates to get government jobs and corner other benefits available for the tribals were identified and two dismissed from service. Similar demands have been raised by tribals from Balangir, Sonepur and Nuapara districts.

The white paper on law and order circulated by the State Government has admitted that such demands are coming in from the tribals of various districts on a regular basis. It said that the situations were brought under control by the timely intervention of the police on many occasions.

Meanwhile, 1,639 cases of torture on SC and ST were lodged during last year. Out of these, police have filed chargesheets in 196 cases. It said that chargesheets will be filed in 1,246 more cases. All 196 cases in which chargesheets have been filed are sub judice. It said that 1,355 cases are under police investigation.

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