The Polit Bureau demands an impartial enquiry into the reasons for the terrible tragedy in which at least 200 precious adivasi lives, possibly more were lost in Malin village of Pune district, Maharashtra.

The tragedy is further compounded by the shocking reports that it could have been not a natural, but a manmade disaster which got accentuated by the particularly heavy rainfall.

The Government had adequate warning in the past few years when smaller landslips had occurred that the flow of the backwaters of the nearby Dimbha dam was one of the causes. But the Government did not take any preventive measures. More recently JCB machines were being used on the hillside in the name of developing adivasi land but in fact to serve the interests of a network of JCB machine owners, corrupt officers and leaders. The use of these heavy machines caused damage to the hillside. In spite of the strong opposition of adivasis to the use of machines, the Government did not prohibit their use.

Equally tragically, the utter neglect of the roads leading to the remote adivasi village meant that relief could not reach in time, which could have perhaps saved lives.

The tragedy is a stark reminder of the horrible conditions in which large sections of adivasis live and the utter callousness which permeates official policies and attitudes to adivasi communities.

The CPI(M) offers its condolences to the families and communities of those who lost their lives. It demands full compensation. It demands a time bound enquiry into the true causes of this disaster.