Kumarambheem Asifabad: Adivasis on Thursday demanded the state and Central governments to remove Lambadas from the Scheduled Tribes list as they were included in the list from the backdoor, besides being migrants to Telangana from other states. Adivasi leaders pointed out that Lambadas were included into the ST list in 1976 in Telangana.
Thousands of Adivasis bypassed police blocks and checks designed to prevent them from reaching the city and reached Asifabad town on Thursday. There were huge traffic jams and vehicles stranded for kilometres together on the National Highway on the Mancherial-Nagpur route and also Utnoor to Asifabad due to Adivasis’ protest.
Thousands of Adivasis from various parts of old Adilabad district thronged the Asifabad district headquarters following the arrest of Adivasi leaders in connection with burning of a Lambada woman’s statue in the Kumarambheem Tribal Museum at Jodeghat on October 5. The Adivasis demanded the state government withdraw the cases filed against their leaders and release those arrested and warned that the agitation would continue to protect their rights.
Adivasi leaders under various groups, including those who addressed the massive gathering at the bus stand, questioned the state government and Chief Minister K. Chandrasekhar Rao over setting up separate Banjara and Adivasi Bhavans while merging them into Adivasi museum.
Former MLA Atram Sakku said arresting the Adivasi leaders and their supporters was nothing but a political conspiracy against them and would not be tolerated. He recalled that Adivasis sacrificed their lives for their rights like the legendary Kumaram Bheem. Another former MLA and ‘Thudumdebba’ state honorary president Soyam Bapurao, who turned up at the protest said they will ready to face any eventuality to protect their culture and constitutional rights.
He said Adivasis were ready to launch another fight against the rulers to protect their rights on Jal, Jungle and Zameen like Kumaram Bheem and from the conspiracy hatched by the Lambadas. Adivasi Research Scholar Maipthy Arunkumar described the Lambadas as Aryans (outsiders) and said that they have invaded Adivasi areas as pointed out by anthropologist Haimendorf. Senior Adivasi leaders Sidam Arju, Kanaka Venkatesh, Ambaji Rao, Uike Sanjeev and others present. It is learnt that some unidentified persons smashed four cars parked in the collectorate in Asifabad.
The article was originally published in Deccan Chronicle, Oct 13, 2017. Picture courtesy : DC
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