25,000 tribals march into Mumbai

Mumbai, March 15 (Calcutta Tube) Around 25,000 tribals, many barefoot, have reached Mumbai from all over Maharashtra demanding that they not be evicted from forests where their families have lived for thousands of years.

Tribal leaders said they have met Maharashtra Chief Minister Prithviraj Chauhan and other ministers but have not got satisfactory assurances from the government.

‘We are not asking for anything new. We have lived in the forest for thousands of years. All we ask is the right to continue living in forests without unlawful eviction,’ said activist Madhubai from Dahnu.

Some of the tribals have come from the far corners of Maharashtra and have walked for 15 days to reach Mumbai.

‘We are asking the Maharashtra government to implement the Forest Rights Act which gives rights over land and forest to Adivasis,’ said Brian Lobo of Kastkari Sanghtna, one of 40 tribal groups and NGOs that organised the rally.

‘The Maharashtra government’s implementation of the act is so poor that tribals will probably be evicted in a couple of years,’ he added.

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