Samwaad Yatra, Week 3 Summary: Kerala Tribal Areas

In its third week, the yatra entered the tribal belt of Kerala—Kozhikode and Wayanad. Here the Forest Rights Act that was implemented as an outcome of the Janadesh 2007 campaign has had a limited success, because teh Adivasis are in still small innumber. 700 genuine claims for land by Adivasis have still not been resolved.

After a meeting with Gandhian intellectuals in Kanoor, the yatra visited Arlam. 2000 Adivasis have been re-settled here on 3500 acres of what was once a national agricultural farm. Since then they have received  no further government help.

Adivasi at Arlam farms

The final meeting was at Thellankery panchayat of Kanoor district, the home of Rajagopal P.V

The next day a public meeting was organized at Manjeri in Mallapuram district.  Here the yatra heard again about the inequities of land reform in Kerala. Then the yatra visited the site of one of most successful peoples’ struggles, against the Coca-Cola plant in Plachimada, Pallakad District.

Plachimada Leader presented with award

One of the women leaders of the struggle was presented with an award and the yatra joined the marchers in front of the closed down plant during a rain storm to show their solidarity.

On the following day, the yatra visited the Muduga tribes in the Attapadi Valley. Forty years ago they had been displaced by an irrigation project (Attapadi Valley Irrigation Project) that was never completed. Mr. Thangaraj, leader of the tribal community, says that their culture was destroyed because of the displacement. They have expressed their support to Jansatyagraha and hope that their own struggle will be strengthened by associating with Ekta Parishad.

Finally at the city hall of Attapadi, the Yatra joined an assembly of tribals from 20 neighboring villagers. There, Mr. Natthu Mupanna, chair of the council of Adivasis leaders, said that the biggest tragedy for Adivasis is that non-Adivasis speak and decide on behalf of Adviasis.

With this the Yatra finished its journey in Kerala and entered the state of Tamil Nadu.

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