On 7 October 2021, the Indigenous Rights Advocacy Centre (IRAC) has submitted a complain petition against forced eviction of 11 tribal families belonging to Irular tribe by the Revenue department near Murugan temple in Peranamallur municipality in Tiruvannamalai district of Tamil Nadu on 1 October 2021. They were evicted without giving a prior notice or providing an alternate accommodation, thus making them homeless during the COVID19 pandemic. This constitutes grave human rights violation of the tribals. The poor tribal families were not even given time to salvage their belongings.
The Irulars are one of the most impoverished tribes in Tamil Nadu. Four months ago, the local Tehsildar had provided the land to these 11 Irular tribal families near the Murugan templeas a makeshift arrangement until land pattas were issued to them.They have been living in thatched-houses without basic facilities such as water, toilets, electricity, and without school facilities for their children. Majority of them also do not have identification documents such as Aadhaar cards and voter cards. They do not possess land pattas or ration cards or caste certificates.
But instead of issuing land pattas or taking care of their welfare, the same Tehsildar demolished their huts and uprooted the11 tribal families amidst the COVID19 pandemic without making any alternate arrangement for their stay or settlement of their claim related to land rights. The Tehsildar claimed that the land was needed for some other purposes.
It is pertinent to mention that on 29 July 2021, Hon’ble NHRC Chairperson Justice A. K. Mishra stated that no tribal should be evicted without the settlement of his/her claim related to land rights.
In its petition, IRAC sought the immediate intervention of the National Human Rights Commission by taking the following measures:
- Direct the Investigation Division of the NHRC to conduct an investigation into the forced eviction of 11 Irular tribal families and submit a report to the NHRC within four weeks;
- Direct the state government of Tamil Nadu to properly resettle and rehabilitate all the 11 evicted tribal families by providing facilities such as housing, water, sanitation, roads, and schools, etc and provide NREGS cards, voter cards, Aadhaar cards, ration cards, health insurance, among others;
- Direct the state government of Tamil Nadu to issue ST certificates to the Irular tribals and ensure schooling for their children;
Photo Source: https://www.newsclick.in/Tribal-Settlement-Near-Tamil-Nadu-Temple-Uprooted