BJP wants to confine tribal people to forests, deprive them: Rahul

Congress leader Rahul Gandhi on Friday alleged that the BJP wants to confine tribal people to forests and deprive them of education and other opportunities.
Bharat Jodo Nyay Yatra in Majuli
Bharat Jodo Nyay Yatra in Majuli

Majuli | Congress leader Rahul Gandhi on Friday alleged that the BJP wants to confine tribal people to forests and deprive them of education and other opportunities.

Addressing his first public meeting on the second day of Bharat Jodo Nyay Yatra in Assam, he claimed that Congress recognises the rights of 'adivasis' over resources as first dwellers.

"We call you advisasi which means the first dwellers. The BJP calls you vanvasi, which means people who live in forests," Gandhi said.

He alleged the BJP, which leads a coalition government in the state, wants to confine the tribals to the forests, and deprive their children of the opportunities to go to schools and universities, learn English and run businesses.

"We want what is yours should be returned to you. Your water, land and forest should be yours," Gandhi said, addressing the gathering of predominantly tribal people in the island district of Majuli.

He claimed that the BJP government was "taking away" the land of tribals across the country.

"You all know what is happening to you. Your land is being taken away, your history is being wiped out. This is true across the country," he alleged.

Gandhi said the first 'Bharat Jodo Yatra' from Kanyakumari to Kashmir in 2022-23 was a successful one, which led people to urge for a similar march from east to west.

"That's why we started this march from Manipur to Mumbai," he added, asserting that it was a fight of ideologies with the BJP.

"We started in Manipur. BJP has burned Manipur. For months a civil war-like situation is prevailing there with people killing each other. But the prime minister has not gone there once. In Nagaland, the PM promised an accord nine years ago but didn't fulfil it. Here (in Assam), the chief minister is the most corrupt one," Gandhi alleged.

After the brief speech given from his car, Gandhi visited Sri Sri Auniati Satra, a Vaishnavite site, clad in a traditional 'dhoti' and held discussions with its head.

The Yatra, led by Gandhi, commenced from Manipur on January 14 and will culminate on March 20 or 21 in Mumbai. It is scheduled to cover 6,713 km in 67 days while passing through 110 districts in 15 states.

The Assam leg started on Thursday and will continue till January 25, travelling 833 km across 17 districts.

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