Irula Workers hold Seminar; Demand State to protect their rights and livelihood


Irula Workers participating in Seminar

On 2nd April 2017, a seminar was held to discuss the issues of Irula Tribal community. The Seminar was organized by Sarpam Irular Thozhilalar Sangam (Sarpam Irula Workers Association). R. Geetha, adviser to the union, presided over this seminar in which over 100 members from various districts of Tamilnadu participated.

The discussions centered around improving livelihood for the Irula workers, protecting their livelihood spaces, such as forest access, homesteads in urban centers and reservation to access jobs. They also discussed the need to access state educational system to improve educational standards among Irula children. In the final session they resolved to petition the government on the following demands.

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R Geetha addressing Irula Workers

Demands to the Central and State Government

  1. Provide drinking water facility, homestead land, housing, street lights, road connectivity and other essential services to the Irula community immediately.
  2. Right to Education including access to good schools and nutritious meal should be guaranteed for the community
  3. Provide ID cards to access state medical insurance schemes.
  4. Provide rehabilitation to the tsunami affected Irula families.
  5. Inorder to protect the livelihood of the tribal (Irula) community, the State government should take action to provide 2 acres of land to each tribal family.
  6. Enact a special law to restore the traditional rights of tribal irula community to land, water and forest resources.
  7. Create District Tribal Welfare councils to preserve and promote traditional tribal Irula values of self reliance, democratic socialist functioning, strong ‘Grama Sabha’ system, ecologically assimilated livelihood.
  8. In order to promote education among the Irula community, provide ST certificates without delay and rejections.
  9. Take action against government officials who refuse to provide ST certificates to Irula families even after the families provide necessary documents
  10. State Government should take adequate measures to protect the security of the Irula Women and provide reservation to allow Irula women to participate in all sectors to their full potential.
  11. Promote quality education among Irula children by establishing primary schools and nutritious meal centers in their communities.
  12. The unspent grants allocated to the development of Irula tribes in the annual budgets should not be taken back. It should be used to enact, implement and monitor schemes for their development.
  13. Provide certificates of rehabilitation to the 650 liberated bonded labourers from the Irula Community.
  14. Take action to protect the Human Rights of the Irula Community.
  15. Implement the Tribal Sub Plan in its entirety.
  16. A proper rehabilitation plan should be implemented for the Irula families affected by Tsunami.
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