Mumbai: Social activists of Sarvahara Jan Andolan, Ulka Mahajan, Sopan Sutar, Chandrakant Gaikwad, Nathuram Waghmare, Chandadevi Tiwari, Raghunath Waghmare, Ankush Waghmare, Umesh Dhumane, Yamuna Waghmare, Shantaram Bakkam and others thanked the Maharashtra State Government’s Tribal Development department for their initiative in bringing back migrant tribals working on coal-fired furnaces and migrant tribal workers stranded outside the State, due to the lockdown imposed to contain the spread of the COVID-19 pandemic, back to their homes in the State.

The SJA organised meets and protests at various places in Raigad district to mark the World Tribal Day. The theme of this year’s World Tribal Day (International Day of the World’s Indigenous People) that was held worldwide on August 9 is ‘COVID-19 and indigenous people’s resilience’. The state tribal development department played a major role in helping us organise the return of nearly 3,500 tribal migrants and hence on behalf of all the tribals and the SJA organization, the activists expressed their gratitude to the State government.

The photograph in this report is of the tribals of Ambivali tribal hamlet in Roha taluka of Raigad district. 650 tribal brethren had migrated to Karnataka and Andhra Pradesh from this hamlet. Appealing for support for their activities, Ulka Mahajan of SJA stressed that efforts will have to be made on all fronts to ensure that these tribals are not compelled to again fall into the trap of becoming bonded labourers.