Land Records Being Fudged in Webland Portal To Deprive Kothaveedhi, Gunti Adivasis

The Human Rights Forum (HRF) urges the Joint Collector of Anakapalli district to visit Kothaveedhi, hamlet of Konam revenue village in Cheedikada mandal, and to conduct a comprehensive inquiry in respect of land being cultivated by Adivasis and to do them justice. Action is to be taken against mandal revenue officials who are brazenly manipulating digital land records and carrying out fraudulent mutations in the Webland portal.

Following reports in the media, an HRF team visited Kothaveedhi and Gunti on Tuesday (30-8-2022). We spoke with Adivasi residents of both villages and saw the extensive farming undertaken by them. Kothaveedhi is inhabited by Kondhs (classified as Particularly Vulnerable Tribal Communities (PVTGs) and Gunti by Konda Doras. A total of 18 families, 13 of Kothaveedhi and five from Gunti, have been cultivating about 40 acres in survey no 289-1A of Konam revenue since over 25 years. They have principally been raising cashew, mango and several dry crops.

Since many years, the Adivasis have been representing to revenue officials, from the mandal to the divisional level, with the plea to recognise their possession and cultivation of the land and to enter the same in the requisite land records. Concerned officials, who were in full knowledge of the cultivation by Adivasis, however, have refused to do so in spite of repeated entreaties. Clearly, their intention is to deprive the Kondh and Konda Dora Adivasis, resident in the area since over a generation, of the agricultural lands that constitute their primary source of livelihood.

The Deputy Tahsildar, Cheedikada, visited the village on December 12, 2021 but no notice was given, as is required by law, to the local Adivasi cultivators who are in possession. This is in plain violation of the AP Rights in Land and Pattadar Pass Books Act. The official was accompanied by several land sharks who have been trying to occupy the land in survey no 289-1A since some time. 

The Adivasis realised that the Deputy Tahsildar was not interested in enquiring into the representation submitted by them to verify the actual possession and cultivation on ground. Convinced that he was openly inclined to facilitate land grab by non-tribals, the Adivasis raised a complaint against him with the then Visakhapatnam District Collector. They also filed a complaint with the Commissioner, Survey and Land Records, Vijayawada against the mandal surveyor for failure to observe due process and for suppressing facts. Consequent to this, the Deputy Inspector of Survey visited Kothaveedhi on May 31 this year and inspected the cultivation being done by Adivasis. 

Meanwhile, the Adivasis were subjected to threats of forcible eviction by the non-tribals following which they brought the matter to the notice of the Anakapalli SP who deputed the DSP to visit the village. The DSP did so and warned of action against anyone threatening the Adivasis.

In a shocking development, land records of survey no 289-1A were changed and now reflect non-tribals as pattadars in possession! Ironically, this happened on the very day (13-6-2022) the Adivasis of Kothaveedhi and Gunti were explaining to the Anakapalli District Collector the injustice being done to them. Incidentally, the area falls in Madugula Assembly constituency represented by MLA Budi Mutyala Naidu who is now also Deputy Chief Minister. Evidently, he is under express obligation to protect and safeguard the interests of the Adivasis.

HRF calls upon the Anakapalli district Joint Collector to visit Kothaveedhi at the earliest and to inspect the lands. An impartial inquiry will clearly establish the truth of Adivasis resident in Kothaveedhi and Gunti as being the rightful cultivators since decades. We demand that till such time the inquiry by the Joint Collector is completed, survey no 289-1A is moved to the dispute register and the possession of land by the Adivasis is not disturbed in any manner.

VS Krishna
HRF AP&TS Coordination Committee member

K Anuradha
HRF State Executive Committee member


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