Odisha Sun Times Bureau
Malkangiri, Dec 7:
The sit in dharna by tribals belonging to the Kondareddy community and owing allegiance to Malkangiri Zilla Adivasi Mahasangha (Federation of district tribal associations) in front of the collector’s office in Odisha’s Malkangiri entered its third day on Sunday.
Braving the chill, the tribals are on a dharna to press for a 13-point charter of demands, which include tribal status to Kondareddy community, scrapping of the Polavaram project and proper rehabilitation of people who had deserted the Maoist fold.
Malkangiri collector D Prasanta Kumar Reddy invited leaders of the agitating tribals and held discussions with them. Reddy promised to fulfill their demands which were within the district administration’s authority and take up other matters with the state government, informed Ramarao Majhi, president Kondareddy Adivasi community.
However, tribals who have come from inaccessible Maoist-affected areas decided to continue with their dharna till the government met all their demands, he said.
They are demanding tribal status to Kondareddy community as in neighbouring Andhra Pradesh and Chhattisgarh, asking for Koya-Baisya-Kamara community to 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.
Bwsides, 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 are also part of their demands.
“Unless our demands are fulfilled, we will intensify our agitation and paralyze the government,” said Ghenu Muduli, president of Paraja tribals.