The United Tribals Associations Alliance (UTAA) on Sunday while taking strong exception to the Director General of Police Aditya Arya’s “shooting order” statement demanded that the government immediately relieve him of his responsibilities and duties.
Speaking to media persons, UTAA president Prakash Velip said the statement was not only irresponsible but also unbecoming specially since Arya is heading the Goa Police which is meant to uphold not only law and order but also instill confidence in the rule of the law.
He pointed out that since 2003 the Scheduled Tribes of Goa have been agitating peacefully to get the rights enshrined for them in the Constitution of India and have never resorted to violence.
He recalled the seven day dharna at Panjim, the taluka meetings, the morcha on the Assembly which were all peaceful. “Even on 25th May, our agitation was peaceful and the violence erupted only after we called off our agitation and our people were returning home,” he said.
“If the peaceful demonstration by the tribals necessitated shoot orders from the DGP then he would do well to first shoot the people who made the tribals come on the streets,” he said.
Recalling that earlier the Goa Police spokesman had said the tribals were drunk and now the senior most officer making such a “irresponsible” statement, he said their suspicion that the marginalized sections will not get justice from this administration is getting strengthened.
“In order to hide their failure, the administration is trying to malign the tribals,” he said and demanded that the judicial enquiry should be set up to reveal the truth.
He said the 25th May incident can be clearly divided into two different incidents, the first being their agitation which was peaceful and which ended at around 3:30 and the other being the violence unleashed by anti-social elements with backing of the police force.
He asserted that the same anti-social elements that burnt the Adarsh and Anchal buildings at Balli killing two tribal youth leaders also torched the government vehicles.
“Thirty of our workers were injured, around 30 vehicles belonging to the tribals and the Adarsh Society that caters to the tribal were burnt and damaged and our two godowns have been burnt along with the stock therein causing tremendous losses to us that is not being spoken about,” he said.
He rubbished the police claim that the UTAA leadership had lost control over the crowd and said the leadership was well in control of the situation. “During the more than hour long discussions with the ST Minister Ramesh Tawadkar single handedly controlled the thousands of people. Our leadership did not fail, it was the police who failed,” he said.
He also did not rule out the possibility of the society buildings being deliberately targeted as they were the symbol of empowerment of the hitherto suppresses tribal population of the State.