The Dalit families of Ganguru in Arkalgud taluk have put up huts in the Gobbali Reserve Forest land as part of their protest demanding a grant of land for cultivation.
The families, who were freed as bonded labourers in 1994, have been demanding for a grant of land for decades. All these years they were allowed to cultivate a part of the reserve forest land. However, on April 1, the Forest Department took over the land, amidst protests. Hassan district administration assured them alternative land for cultivation.
The families protested again on Sunday when the Forest Department staff members visited the spot to plant trees.
They succeeded in sending back the staff members. In order to continue their protest, they have put up huts on the land. They have demanded that each family should be provided with four acres of land for cultivation.
Leaders of pro-Dalit organisations, at a press conference in Hassan on Tuesday, urged the State government to respond to the demands of the protesters immediately. “They were released as bonded labourers 27 years ago. Since then, the government has not provided them with land for cultivation”, alleged M.G. Pruthvi, Hassan district convener of Dalit Hakkugala Samiti.
CPI(M) district secretary Dharmesh, and DSS leaders Sandesh and Krishna Das were present at the press conference.
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