Wednesday, October 26, 2011

Maldharis threaten agitation against eviction

Maldharis threaten agitation against eviction
Times of India

The Maldhari community in Sasan Gir has threatened to launch an agitation if the state government tried to forcibly evict them from Gangadiya and Alavani ness.

At a meeting held in Gir on Monday, the community members resolved to stage dharnas and fast-unto-death if officials don't reverse their stand. The members, who met under the banner of SETU, expressed anguish over forest officials warning them to move out of Gangadiya and Alavani ness or face action. The community will also submit a memorandum to the officials.

Ashok Shrimali, a social activist working with the Maldhari community in Gir, said forest officials informed 30 families of Gangadiya and Alavani ness that they were staying illegally in the forest. "Since decades, these families are living at the same place. They also have a legal pass given to them as a permanent permit. But now the forest department is terming these passes illegal," he claimed. tnn

The community members alleged that officials were also harassing the Maldharis in other ness and have stopped them from carrying milk out of the forest area.

"Usually, vehicles of contractors come to the forest to collect milk. But, forest officials have issued a directive to the contractors not to collect milk from Gangadiya and Alavani ness to harass the 30 families," Shrimali said.

Junagadh CCF R Meena said, "We have intensified the search for families living illegally. There may be a few who want to resist the move and are, therefore, threatening to make an issue out of this."

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