People's Democracy

(Weekly Organ of the Communist Party of India (Marxist)


No. 22

June 03, 2012



Protesting Adivasi Student’s, Father’s Arrest




HUNDREDS of protesters, comprising tribal people coming from Beltangadi to Bengaluru rural, assembled in front of the Town Hall at Bengaluru, the state capital, on May 28 and raised slogans against the BJP’s state government, demanding immediate release of adivasi student Vittal Malekudia and his father, Lingappa Malekudiya.


At the same time, at the initiative of the CPI(M), a defence committee has also been constituted to press the state government for immediate release of Vittal Malekudia and his father. The committee has also demanded that the false cases foisted against them must be withdrawn and damages caused to the family reimbursed. The government must also implement the Forest Act 2006 effectively so as to ensure the right to land for all the adivasi people and to provide them necessary infrastructure and facilities like drinking water, sanitation, roads, schools, etc.


Earlier on the same day, a delegation met the Karnataka chief minister Sadananda Gowda and urged his immediate intervention. The delegation comprised CPI(M) Polit Bureau member Brinda Karat, CPI(M) MP Rajesh, National Tribal Rights Committee president and CPI(M) MP Bajuban Riyan, CPI(M) state secretariat members G N Nagaraj and S Y Gurushanth, defence committee chairman Professor G K Govinda Rao, its vice president Bayyareddy, dalit leader Mavalli Shanker, Tippu United Front president Sardar Ahmed Khureshi, DYFI state secretary B Rajashekaramurthy and Vittal’s mother Honnamma, among others. The chief minister assured that action would be initiated against the police officers who had handcuffed the student, Vittal Malekudiya, and his father, and that the authorities who prevented him from writing some of the exams would be taken to task. The chief minister also promised that he would ensure justice to Vittal Malekudia and his family. When the delegation demanded that land rights must be provided to the affected families, the chief minister replied that he would look into the matter seriously.


Earlier, on May 20, CPI(M) general secretary Prakash Karat met the arrested student, Vittal Malekudia, in Mangalore Jail to instil confidence in him. He also addressed a hall meeting on the day.


The DYFI has been consistently struggling on the demand of release of Vittal Malekudia while the Karnataka Police has been making futile attempts to prove that he is a naxalite.


It is to be noted that the anti-naxalite squad of Karnataka Police arrested Vittal Malekudia, a tribal student who is doing MA in journalism, and his father on March 3, 2012, and filed a false case against them, alleging that they were naxalite supporters. However, the only ‘evidence’ the police had had to prove that Vittal is a naxalite is the Kannada translation of Kuldeep Nayyar’s book on Bhagat Singh, though the police also added 100 gm of tea powder, 400 gm of sugar, 100 gm of coffee powder, four steel plates and glasses used during meals, some paper cuttings and a small binocular in the ‘evidence’ list. This is enough to bring ridicule upon the police force’s procedure to collect evidence and conduct an enquiry.


While the state government has been making efforts to forcibly evacuate adivasi families living near Beltangadi in Mangalore district by terrorising them, in the name of developmental projects, and to deprive them of their democratic right to existence, there has been going on a struggle against the government’s efforts to evacuate tribal families for the projects such as a National Park and an Elephant Corridor, etc. Vittal Malekudia, an active student, a member of the DYFI and also a member of the Karnataka Coordination Committee for Tribals’ Rights, was very much a part of this struggle, and his arrest is evidently a part of the government’s game to suppress dissent.