Congress leader Rahul Gandhi, MP, whipped up the enthusiasm of hundreds of tribes people living in different parts of the Nilambur forests and offered them a better tomorrow if his party came back to power at the Centre and in the State.
Addressing a tribal conference at Nilambur on Monday, Mr. Gandhi assured them that the involvement of tribespeople would be ensured in the implementation of the Forest Rights Act.
Mr. Gandhi said that although the Congress-led United Progressive Alliance government had introduced the Forest Rights Act by envisaging the involvement of tribespeople as a major stakeholder, it was sad to see Adivasis being kept away from its implementation part. “I will strongly make the argument that our tribal brothers and sisters deserve what everybody else is getting,” he said amid loud cheers from the 2,000-odd crowd.
Mr. Gandhi said that educational and health facilities should be taken to the tribal hamlets, rather than making them travel long distances to get the facilities.
“Currently, I am a soldier in Delhi. When the United Democratic Front government comes to power, I will be your full-time soldier in Kerala to make sure that you get the health care and education that you need,” he said.
Mr. Gandhi gave a patient listening to the woes of Adivasis. Many of them shared their problems with him. Some of them said that they were living in constant threat of wild animals without even a house.
Tribal Moopan (leader) Palan presided over the function. P.V. Abdul Wahab, K.C. Venugopal, MPs; A.P. Anil Kumar, MLA; veteran Congress leader Aryadan Mohammed; District Congress Committee president V.V. Prakash; former municipal chairman Aryadan Shoukath; and district panchayat vice president Ismail Moothedam were present.