Agitation over forestland

A dispute over the rights of tribals to forestland in Gujarat took a violent turn on February 13 when two tribals were killed and three others injured in a police firing at Polo in Sabarkantha district's Vijaynagar taluka.

Trouble began when agitated people in the area say the police picked up 15 tribals accusing them of inciting others to claim forestland. After our appeals to release them did not yield any result, we decided to go to the police station, said Kajal Ninama, a tribal activist.

The district administration claims the firing was in self-defence after a 500-strong mob armed with bows and arrows attacked the Vajepura range forest office near Polo.

Trouble was brewing in the area after the forest department began an eviction drive two days ago.