HRF demands Andhra Pradesh government to safeguard interests of Gadaba adivasis

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They have been cultivating land in Patha Mallampeta and Gadabapalem of Golugonda mandal in Narsipatnam division of Anakapalli district.

They have been cultivating land in Patha Mallampeta and Gadabapalem of Golugonda mandal in Narsipatnam division of Anakapalli district.

The Human Rights Forum (HRF) has called upon the State government to safeguard the interests of Gadaba adivasis who have been cultivating land in Patha Mallampeta and Gadabapalem of Golugonda mandal in Narsipatnam division of Anakapalli district.

Speaking to The Hindu after a fact-finding tour to the area, the HRF members said steps must be taken, without further delay, to ensure that their names are reflected as the cultivators in the relevant revenue records and their cultivation rights are duly protected.

The assurances given by the Andhra Pradesh Scheduled Tribes Commission Chairman, on October 14 in this year, to the Gadabapalem adivasis to the effect that reports by the Golugonda mandal surveyor and the former Golugonda tahsildhar would be annulled within a week and action taken against the two for committing illegalities, must be fulfilled, they demanded.

A two-member HRF fact-finding team comprising P. Raghu, HRF Visakhapatnam district president and V. S. Krishna, the forum’s AP&TS Coordination Committee members visited Gadabapalem and Patha Mallampeta on November 9 and spoke with resident Gadaba adivasi farmers including many women.

We examined the extensive cultivation being done in Survey No.850-1 of Patha Mallampeta village and perused several records pertaining to this cultivation. These include old and recent official revenue records. We were able to determine that a total of 25 families of the Gadaba tribe, classified as PVTGs (Particularly Vulnerable Tribal Communities) of Gadabapalem have been farming in an extent of 36 acres in Survey No 850-1 of Patha Mallampeta since about fifty years, said Mr. Krishna.

“They are mainly raising cashew, mango, teak, palmyra trees on the bunds and several dry crops. It was clear that for the adivasis this was their principal, and in the case of most of the 25 families, their only source of livelihood,” pointed out Mr. Raghu.

They alleged that since March this year, some NRIs, in collusion with some land grabbers, as well as local revenue officials, are attempting to grab these 36 acres.

Mr. Krishna also alleged that this was being done by putting out fraudulent records in respect of the cultivation and possession and by deploying the police to detain, threaten and harass the adivasis. The HRF members alleged that on March 11 this year, the then SI of Golugonda Dhanunjaya Naidu detained several Gadaba farmers, including women, at the police station from 7 p.m. to midnight and sought to persuade them to accept money being offered by the NRIs and to leave the land.

The reports by then tahsidhar K. Venkateswara Rao to the Narsipatnam RDO dated March 29, 2022, and to the AD, Survey and Land Records, Anakapalli dated June 15, 2022, and the official report by the Golugonda mandal surveyor to the Anakapalli Survey and Land Records AD, dated June 10, 2022,  wilfully suppress the stark fact of the Gadaba adivasis cultivating the said land in 36 acres.

The HRF demanded that the details of cultivators in Survey No. 850-1 be recorded in the requisite Land Register (No.3 Adangal Column 13) without further delay and justice be done to the Gadaba farmers.

We also call for action against the former Golugonda tahsildhar and the former Golugonda SI for trying to threaten and wrongfully dispossess the adivasis from the land that is in their possession and cultivation, said Mr. Krishna.

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