Wednesday, July 04, 2018

We are Vadis, We don’t Kidnap Children

Mob lynching of Vadi women
When a beloved child is missing, for the parents that is the moment of great shock, till the child is found. In such situation when the news is heard about a child lifting gange being active, it is but natural that the public gets angry.  But it should also be ensured that such news should not victimise innocent people.  Recently in Vadaj area of Ahmedabad city there was an incident of mob attack on three innocent women of Vadi Community on the suspicion that they are child lifters. One of those women succumbed to the injuries. The children of that woman became orphans due to thoughtless action of the public. 
There were similar incidents in many places other than Ahmedabad also, which should not be tolerated at any cost.  Now a days, Nomadic community people which includes Vadi, Madari are afraid of coming out of their settlements. They are engaged in begging or doing miscellaneous labour work for their day to day livelihood.  They don’t have any stock of food items like us to use in such a situation.  Presently they fill their stomach merely on water.  Though they are innocent, the mob don’t give them chance to prove their innocence.  

Mittal Patel addressing the People
We become nostalgic on seeing Madari who used to entertain us in our childhood with and plays like magic shows and snake charming etc. and children follow them up to some distance to see their plays and at that time no body doubting them to be child lifters.  In the year 1990, the Govt. banned snack charming without thinking about their rehabilitation or alternative means of livelihood.  This put them in miserable condition and they were left with no other alternative of begging.  That is why, now a days, we see them begging across the streets.  “When cannot imagine about lifting others’ children when we have our own children” say Vadis.  They say ‘our community rules are very strict.  We are wandering from village to village and are solely dependent upon them, how can we afford to do criminal activities not liked by the society, which will deprive us from their support.  We can only beg from you but cannot do any wrong deeds.’  We have to raise the issue of rehabilitation of Vadis again.

Irula Co-Operative Venom Bank at Chennai
In Chennai, there is a community called Irula similar to Vadi, they have formed Irula Co-operative Society.  The community enrolled with this society is given licence for catching snakes.  They catch and handover the snakes to the society.  The management of the society is run by Irula community jointly with Forest Department.  They get Rs.5000 to 7000 per poisonous snack and society extracts venom twice from each snack and thereafter they are freed.  Venom collected is handed over to Venom Bank who pays Rs.70000 per tola.  The income earned from venom business is distributed among the members of Vadi community.  Presently, due to shortage of anti-venom approximately 50000 deaths are reported.  Now like this, in Gujarat also rehabilitation of Vadi, Madari community people is necessary so that they can stop the practise of begging.  

People from Vadi community holding a message of not 
In short the Government needs to rethink about the condition of Vadi, Madari community.  It is humble appeal to the society that we should avoid manhandling anybody on the basis of rumours.  If feel necessary, police be informed but not take law in our hands.  Vadi, Madari community have to come out to earn livelihood but they are afraid of the society.  They are also part of the Society.  We should remove the fear of Vadi community and ignore the false rumours. 

In this connection a peaceful human chain, in the form of a human chain was organised on 2nd July, 2018 (1-00 pm to 3-00 pm) from VSSM office to Shivranjni Cross road, Ahmedabad. Approximately 2500 people from the Nomadic community and civil society members participated which was covered by Media and purpose of the rally to convey the pathetic conditions of Nomadic Tribe served.  

We got an exceptional response from the mass media too. Some of the clippings published in the newspaper are attached here:

Divya Bhaskar report about the event
Delegation at Home Minister's office
On 3rd July 2018 a delegation of community members led by Ms. Mittal Patel met honourable Home Minister of Gujarat Shri Pradeepsinh Jadeja gave instructions to the DGP Shri Shivanand Jha to ensure that such incident is not recurred. 

We all hope that there are no more incidents of atrocities on Nomadic and De-Notified communities. We hope that people will be aware and will not forward the false messages and rumours which can kill somebody.