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Tribals attacked in forest

D. Chandra Bhaskar Rao



Nowhere to go: A Gothikoya family rendered homeless following the attack

BHADRACHALAM: Some 20 families of the Gothikoya tribe (Moriya community from Bastar) which built a habitation of themselves in the reserve forest of Sarivela, came under the attack of Koyas -- the native tribe.

All their houses were destroyed and their foodgrain stocks thrown around. Men and women were dragged out of their houses and asked to leave the place before nightfall. Five women injured in the attack were hospitalised.

The habitation was in the eye of the storm for quite some time.

It was burnt down allegedly by the forest officials six times so far.

Some non-government organisations moved the courts against the act of the Forest Department and obtained stay on the move for evicting the tribal families.

The attack on the habitation was spearheaded this time by the local Koya tribe.

The bone of contention between the two tribal communities was the forest land. The Gothikoyas who came here some six months ago from Bastar had developed some 15 acres in the reserve forest.

They made it arable and began to cultivate paddy and maize.

They are out to develop some more forestland. But for the last two weeks they could not take up any farm activity,

The Koya leaders from Sarivela village asked them to vacate the forestland which was otherwise meant for grazing their cattle.

They were under pressure to go back to their Sukuma areas which they deserted in the wake of the Salva judum-sponsored violence.

Sode Ramesh, leader of the habitation, made it clear on Wednesday that they were in no position to go back to Chhattisagarh.

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