‘Tribal rights oppressed in India’: social worker

By Matters India Reporter

New Delhi: Rights of Tribals in India have been oppressed, says a social worker.

“The entire rights of indigenous people in the country are under subjugation,” Sister Anne Jesus Mary, a Franciscan Missionaries of Mary nun and social worker, based in Chhattisgarh, told Matters India.

She was reacting on the occasion of International Day of the World’s Indigenous Peoples celebrated on August 9. It is celebrated in recognition of the first meeting of the United Nations Working Group on Indigenous Populations in Geneva in 1982. Each year this day is celebrated around the world. This year’s theme is “Indigenous peoples’ migration and movement.”

The Indian government makes repeated attempts to trample the rights of tribals in India. There is a tendency to make India as ‘one Hindu nation’ excluding tribals. Sometimes, government tends to opine that all tribals are Hindus. Such views can be disturbing, the social activist said.

“If tribal people do protest rallies or fight for their rights, they are sent behind the bars. All efforts seem to be futile,” she said.

In Sundergagh district of Odisha, about 10,000 tribals held a protest rally demanding their rights are to be protected by the government.

The protest rally was organized by Adivasi Mulbasi Bachao Manch, Adivasi Mulnivasi Adhikar Surakshya Manch and Panchayats Extension to the Scheduled Areas Gram Sabha of Sundargarh, said Siprian William Kiro, the event convener.

The protest rally was an appeal for action against the violation of Constitutional rights of Scheduled Tribes of Schedule District, Sundargarh, Odisha, he added.

“We the people belonging to the Scheduled Tribe community under the revenue villages of Sundargarh district bring to your kind notice in various occasion on the Constitutional Provisions granted for the benefits of the Scheduled Tribes of the Scheduled District of Sundargarh and how these rights have been violated systematically and consistently by Civil Administration, and thus, we appeal to you for immediate steps possible to stop such violation of rights of the Scheduled Tribes in the District,” he said in a memorandum submitted to the Governor of Odisha through the local district administration.

Under many circumstances tribals in India are feeling the acute threat and unsafe in their existence despite there are strong provisions in Articles and 5th Schedule regulations of the Indian Constitution, PESA Act 1996, Forest Right Act 2006 and the various Supreme Court Judgements to protect the rights of Scheduled areas, Kiro said.

Scheduled Tribes in India have notified in 30 States/Union Territories. The number of individual ethnic groups are notified as Scheduled Tribes is 705.

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