Chennai: Students of the Madras Christian College helped 31 people of the Irular tribal community in Karunakaracherry village, Kancheepuram, get community certificates after living there for 70 years.
After nearly three months of going back and forth with Revenue officials and the Village Administrative Officer (VAO), the Field Action Project team of the Department of Social Work filed a petition with the National Human Rights Commission (NHRC) requesting them to help provide, among other things, community certificates and pattas (entitlement of land) for the community.
The Social Work students filed the petition 10 August for Irulars residing at Thiruvannai Koil Street (P V Kalathur), Chinayedayathur, Aminjikarai, Kolathangarai, Aayapakam, Ponpathirkudam, Samundeeswari Koil Street (Mandapam), Pavunjur and Somangalam villages to provide facilities such as land (patta), electricity, old age pension and livelihood. Within a day, after the petition was filed, the issue was sorted out by the Revenue officials and VAO.
The NHRC accepted the petition and invited the FAP team for a public hearing on the problems of the SC/ST community in the Anna Centenary Library 12 September. In addition to the petition filed, the FAP team added that they had discovered some more Irular hamlets which were so far unrecognised by the VAO.
The team was led by Mugilan A, Jonathan Samuel and Angel S, Bala Krishnan. During the hearing conducted by NHRC, the District Collector was directed to read the petition. The Collector responded that his office was working in the villages cited in the petition. The NHRC officials admonished the District Collector and instructed him to settle the issue within four weeks. The District Collector also promised to meet the petitioners and the Irular people and gave the assurance to settle all the issues mentioned in the petitions.
The Field Action Project (FAP) was started in 2015 after the Chennai floods. Thirteen houses were built for the Irular community in Annai Satya Nagar with the help of the Department of Social Work. The FAP aims to form a special policy for the Irular community for their resettlement and infrastructure.