Tribal Suppressed, Rights Ignored

Two tribal leaders were killed after protests to safeguard their rights in Goa.

The tribal communities in Quepem, Goa, took a big blow to their spirit and protest when two of their young leaders, Mangesh Gaonkar and Dilip Velip, were killed three months ago following massive demonstrations in Balli village. Earlier that day, thousands of tribals had taken to the streets, blocked highways and railway tracks to demand a 12% reservation quota for government jobs and the immediate implementation of the Tribal Forest Rights Act that was enacted in 2006. Driven by frustration and apathy from the authorities, the Velip tribals’ agitation turned violent, and the two young men were burnt in a building set on fire by angry locals.

This is not an isolated case. In the light of domestication of dissent prevalent in India today, this continued suppression of the voices demanding rights that are theirs through violence needs to stop.

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