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Dalits attacked by 300 men in UP village, 13 upper-caste men arrested

More than 300 men from the Thakur community attacked villagers with sticks and hammers mostly women, after a fallout during a Bhim Katha event organized by the Dalits

20 Feb 2020

Dalit Attacked
Image: Ismat Ara / The Wire


At the Mangta village in Kanpur Dehat, Uttar Pradesh a mob of more than 300 men of the Thakur community allegedly attacked the Dalit community on February 13 injuring more than 25 people. Around 18 people have been admitted to the Ursula Hospital in Kanpur town and most of the victims of the attack were women.

The Mangta village consists of 40% Dalits and the 60% of the upper-caste community.


The background

Speaking to The Wire, Amit Kumar, organizer of the Bhim Katha said that tensions had been building up in the area for the past ten days. He had organized a week-long event – the Bhim Katha, in the village starting February 1 for the first time to celebrate the teachings of Gautam Buddha and Babasaheb Ambedkar. He said, “Various programmes such as theatre, singing and narration were going on. The Thakur community of our village didn’t like that we were having an event just by ourselves. They started provoking us.”

What irked the Thakurs, Amit thought was the fact that on the fourth day of the event they did not stop the event to accommodate the requests of a Thakur family where a wedding was taking place. Amit said that a wedding was to take place at the house of Jaideep Singh, a Thakur. A group from their house was sent to the ‘mohalla ground’ where the Bhim Katha event was taking place and the group asked the event organizers to stop the event for 3 – 4 hours. However, the organizers couldn’t do so, Amit stated, because 500 people from neighbouring villages were invested in the event.

While all was quiet on the days following this incident, on the Bhim Shobha Yatra taken out by the Dalits on February 12, a poster of Babasaheb Ambedkar was damaged by the Thakurs, allegedly by a teenage boy from the community.

On February 13, hundreds of people were allegedly heard chanting ‘Jai Shri Ram’ in the village. “They had come for us, not less than 500 people,” Amit said.


The attack

Ashok Kumar Chamar spoke to Newsclick about the incident. He said, “The Thakurs attacked the Dalits while they were taking out the Bhim Shobha Yatra (a procession) in the village on February 12. They tore the posters of Babasaheb Ambedkar with the sticks due to which the dalits got outraged and stone-pelting started from both the sides in which about six persons were injured. Soon after this the police were informed about the incident, a dialogue was held between the dalits and the upper caste men. The situation returned to normal after that. Surprisingly, the Thakurs attacked the dalits the very next day, torching one of the houses and injuring more than two dozen people from the village.”

Another victim of the attack, 19-year-old Jyoti who received serious injuries on her head and legs said, “I was attacked with an axe that hit my leg and what else I remember is that they beat our people, torching one of the houses and even tearing the clothes of the women.”

5-year-old Adarsh Kumar too sustained a fracture in one of his hands during the assault.

The policemen who were present during the incident apparently did not stop the mob from attacking the Dalits and were seen taking videos instead. Anurag Vats, the SSP of Kanpur Dehat told The Wire, “Since the initial response team comprised only of three people, the police was helpless in the face of such a huge crowd. The backup team took 10-15 minutes to reach the place. The initial team took videos so they can later be used as evidence.” He also said that the police booked 13 people in the matter based on the videos taken on the charges of rioting, rioting armed with deadly weapons, unlawful assembly, house trespassing, apart from sections of the Scheduled Caste and Scheduled Tribes (Prevention of Atrocities) Act.

According to one victim, Shiv Devi, who is recuperating at the hospital and received five stitches to the head, the men had tied axes to the ends of their long lathis. Three women – Rashmi, Beenas and Bhagwati are in the emergency ward due to serious injuries on their head for which they have received 15 stitches.


What the Thakurs say

Speaking to The Wire, the Thakurs seemed to be nonchalant about the incident claiming that the conflict started because of a teenager who didn’t know better. Suresh Singh, a Thakur, claimed that they had promised to put up three new posters in place of the torn poster of Babasaheb Ambedkar, but the angry Dalits refused to listen.

Another Thakur, Chandu Singh said that during the yatra, “some very bad things were said about the savarna (upper caste) people”. He said, “They said things like, ‘Na koi Ramanaya ka noi Purana, Iss desh ko chala raha hai keval Ambedkar ka samvidhan. (Not Ramayana or Puranas, the only thing running this country is Ambedkar’s constitution).”

Chandu Singh also claimed that during the yatra, slogans of “Thakur Murdabad” were also raised. Indicating that there could be further violence, “We still haven’t retaliated,” later adding that the Thakurs were ready for a compromise.


Thakurs feeling threatened?

However, Amit Kumar and other Dalit leaders who visited the village after the incident say that it is more an ideological fight between the two communities. Post this, Amit Kumar says that the Dalits are now fearing their safety. He says they neither trust the Thakurs, nor do they trust the police.

Brijlal Khabri, a Dalit leader who visited the village on Friday, said that the conflict had nothing to do with the wedding at the Thakur’s house. “The wedding was happening two kilometres away from the venue of the Bhim Katha. This fight is simply about ideology. The upper castes simply don’t want us to spread Babasaheb’s word because it threatens their dominance,” he said.

Anurag Vats, a police officer has said that though the Dalits are shaken, they have no need to fear. He said that on the FIR filed on the complaints by the Dalits, all the people arrested have been from the upper-castes and more arrests are bound to happen soon.

He also said that the two communities have been cooperative and are looking for a long-term solution in the matter. “Women from both the communities recently met and reached a compromise. They have accepted that they want to live together. We are also trying for the same thing, to facilitate a dialogue between the two communities,” he said.


Related:

This is my India
Death by excreta: The cursed lives of India's manual scavengers
Dalit activists who have been fighting the good fight

 

Dalits attacked by 300 men in UP village, 13 upper-caste men arrested

More than 300 men from the Thakur community attacked villagers with sticks and hammers mostly women, after a fallout during a Bhim Katha event organized by the Dalits

Dalit Attacked
Image: Ismat Ara / The Wire


At the Mangta village in Kanpur Dehat, Uttar Pradesh a mob of more than 300 men of the Thakur community allegedly attacked the Dalit community on February 13 injuring more than 25 people. Around 18 people have been admitted to the Ursula Hospital in Kanpur town and most of the victims of the attack were women.

The Mangta village consists of 40% Dalits and the 60% of the upper-caste community.


The background

Speaking to The Wire, Amit Kumar, organizer of the Bhim Katha said that tensions had been building up in the area for the past ten days. He had organized a week-long event – the Bhim Katha, in the village starting February 1 for the first time to celebrate the teachings of Gautam Buddha and Babasaheb Ambedkar. He said, “Various programmes such as theatre, singing and narration were going on. The Thakur community of our village didn’t like that we were having an event just by ourselves. They started provoking us.”

What irked the Thakurs, Amit thought was the fact that on the fourth day of the event they did not stop the event to accommodate the requests of a Thakur family where a wedding was taking place. Amit said that a wedding was to take place at the house of Jaideep Singh, a Thakur. A group from their house was sent to the ‘mohalla ground’ where the Bhim Katha event was taking place and the group asked the event organizers to stop the event for 3 – 4 hours. However, the organizers couldn’t do so, Amit stated, because 500 people from neighbouring villages were invested in the event.

While all was quiet on the days following this incident, on the Bhim Shobha Yatra taken out by the Dalits on February 12, a poster of Babasaheb Ambedkar was damaged by the Thakurs, allegedly by a teenage boy from the community.

On February 13, hundreds of people were allegedly heard chanting ‘Jai Shri Ram’ in the village. “They had come for us, not less than 500 people,” Amit said.


The attack

Ashok Kumar Chamar spoke to Newsclick about the incident. He said, “The Thakurs attacked the Dalits while they were taking out the Bhim Shobha Yatra (a procession) in the village on February 12. They tore the posters of Babasaheb Ambedkar with the sticks due to which the dalits got outraged and stone-pelting started from both the sides in which about six persons were injured. Soon after this the police were informed about the incident, a dialogue was held between the dalits and the upper caste men. The situation returned to normal after that. Surprisingly, the Thakurs attacked the dalits the very next day, torching one of the houses and injuring more than two dozen people from the village.”

Another victim of the attack, 19-year-old Jyoti who received serious injuries on her head and legs said, “I was attacked with an axe that hit my leg and what else I remember is that they beat our people, torching one of the houses and even tearing the clothes of the women.”

5-year-old Adarsh Kumar too sustained a fracture in one of his hands during the assault.

The policemen who were present during the incident apparently did not stop the mob from attacking the Dalits and were seen taking videos instead. Anurag Vats, the SSP of Kanpur Dehat told The Wire, “Since the initial response team comprised only of three people, the police was helpless in the face of such a huge crowd. The backup team took 10-15 minutes to reach the place. The initial team took videos so they can later be used as evidence.” He also said that the police booked 13 people in the matter based on the videos taken on the charges of rioting, rioting armed with deadly weapons, unlawful assembly, house trespassing, apart from sections of the Scheduled Caste and Scheduled Tribes (Prevention of Atrocities) Act.

According to one victim, Shiv Devi, who is recuperating at the hospital and received five stitches to the head, the men had tied axes to the ends of their long lathis. Three women – Rashmi, Beenas and Bhagwati are in the emergency ward due to serious injuries on their head for which they have received 15 stitches.


What the Thakurs say

Speaking to The Wire, the Thakurs seemed to be nonchalant about the incident claiming that the conflict started because of a teenager who didn’t know better. Suresh Singh, a Thakur, claimed that they had promised to put up three new posters in place of the torn poster of Babasaheb Ambedkar, but the angry Dalits refused to listen.

Another Thakur, Chandu Singh said that during the yatra, “some very bad things were said about the savarna (upper caste) people”. He said, “They said things like, ‘Na koi Ramanaya ka noi Purana, Iss desh ko chala raha hai keval Ambedkar ka samvidhan. (Not Ramayana or Puranas, the only thing running this country is Ambedkar’s constitution).”

Chandu Singh also claimed that during the yatra, slogans of “Thakur Murdabad” were also raised. Indicating that there could be further violence, “We still haven’t retaliated,” later adding that the Thakurs were ready for a compromise.


Thakurs feeling threatened?

However, Amit Kumar and other Dalit leaders who visited the village after the incident say that it is more an ideological fight between the two communities. Post this, Amit Kumar says that the Dalits are now fearing their safety. He says they neither trust the Thakurs, nor do they trust the police.

Brijlal Khabri, a Dalit leader who visited the village on Friday, said that the conflict had nothing to do with the wedding at the Thakur’s house. “The wedding was happening two kilometres away from the venue of the Bhim Katha. This fight is simply about ideology. The upper castes simply don’t want us to spread Babasaheb’s word because it threatens their dominance,” he said.

Anurag Vats, a police officer has said that though the Dalits are shaken, they have no need to fear. He said that on the FIR filed on the complaints by the Dalits, all the people arrested have been from the upper-castes and more arrests are bound to happen soon.

He also said that the two communities have been cooperative and are looking for a long-term solution in the matter. “Women from both the communities recently met and reached a compromise. They have accepted that they want to live together. We are also trying for the same thing, to facilitate a dialogue between the two communities,” he said.


Related:

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Death by excreta: The cursed lives of India's manual scavengers
Dalit activists who have been fighting the good fight

 

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Sisterhood unites to fight oppression: Forest workers meet Shaheen Bagh protesters

Dalit and Adivasi forest workers express solidarity with anti-CAA activists as even they rarely have 70-year-old documents to stake claim to forest land.

17 Feb 2020

Adivasi

Recently a contingent of 23 Dalit and Adivasi forest workers from Lakhimpur Khikri, Sonbhadra and Manikpur arrived in New Delhi to express solidarity with people protesting the Citizenship Amendment Act (CAA). The visiting contingent comprised members of the All India Union of Forest Working People (AIUFWP).

Just like the protests at Shaheen Bagh are predominantly led by women, the movement for forest rights in Uttar Pradesh’s Sonbhadra region has been spearheaded by women. AIUFWP deputy general secretary Roma Malik, as well as senior union members like Sokalo Gond, Rajkumari Bhuiya, Kismatiya Gond and many others met with protesters at Shaheen Bagh, where folk singers from Sonbhadra also sang songs of protest.

Shaheen

shaheen bagh

Amir Khan, an activist working with the union said, “The Indian state is playing same tactics to exclude or disenfranchise these oppressed groups despite Forest Rights Act 2006, which guaranteed their claim over forest and its resources through Individual and Community Forest claim. These are similar pattern of NRC wherein they have been asked to share their 3 generations documents i.e. 75-year land records to have a claim on their Forest and its resources.”

On Sunday, a group of women protesters from Shaheen Bagh also organized a rally to march to the Ministry of Home Affairs. “After Amit Shah offered to talk to protesters to help the protesters gain better understanding of CAA, the protesting women including ‘dadis’ decided to tell him that they were neither ignorant nor confused about the CAA. They know that it is unconstitutional and want it to be scrapped. In fact, they said they could help Amit Shah understand the Constitution. That is why they wanted to march to the MHA,” said Khan explaining the reason behind yesterday’s rally. But the police prevented the protesters from marching to the MHA. “First, he offers to talk, then he does not come to meet the protesters, and when they try to visit him, the police who reports to him, stop them,” Khan wonders aloud.

Some images from the rally may be viewed here: 

Shaheen Bagh|

Shaheen Bagh

The protesters at Shaheen Bagh have put forward three key demands:

-        That the un-Constitutional and highly discriminatory CAA be scrapped

-        That all arrested anti-CAA protesters be released immediately and compensation be paid to families of those killed in police firing and crackdowns

-        The Supreme Court hears the petitions against CAA

In wake of back-to-back instances of armed men discharging their weapons on peaceful protesters, first outside Jamia Milia Islamia University (JMIU) and then at Shaheen Bagh, where a majority of the protesters are women, Citizens for Justice and Peace (CJP) and All India Union of Forest Working People (AIUFWP) had come together in solidarity with the peaceful protesters and condemned the attacks on them.

The attacks on the protesters, as well as the inflammatory speeches that incited these attacks, violate several serious sections of the law. Hate speech violates Section 153 (a) (b) (c) and Section 505 of the Indian Penal Code (IPC), as well as Section 295 of the Criminal Procedure Code (CRPC). These speeches and violent attacks also violate Section 307 (attempt to murder) and Section 120-B (Criminal Conspiracy) of the Indian Penal Code.

Sisterhood unites to fight oppression: Forest workers meet Shaheen Bagh protesters

Dalit and Adivasi forest workers express solidarity with anti-CAA activists as even they rarely have 70-year-old documents to stake claim to forest land.

Adivasi

Recently a contingent of 23 Dalit and Adivasi forest workers from Lakhimpur Khikri, Sonbhadra and Manikpur arrived in New Delhi to express solidarity with people protesting the Citizenship Amendment Act (CAA). The visiting contingent comprised members of the All India Union of Forest Working People (AIUFWP).

Just like the protests at Shaheen Bagh are predominantly led by women, the movement for forest rights in Uttar Pradesh’s Sonbhadra region has been spearheaded by women. AIUFWP deputy general secretary Roma Malik, as well as senior union members like Sokalo Gond, Rajkumari Bhuiya, Kismatiya Gond and many others met with protesters at Shaheen Bagh, where folk singers from Sonbhadra also sang songs of protest.

Shaheen

shaheen bagh

Amir Khan, an activist working with the union said, “The Indian state is playing same tactics to exclude or disenfranchise these oppressed groups despite Forest Rights Act 2006, which guaranteed their claim over forest and its resources through Individual and Community Forest claim. These are similar pattern of NRC wherein they have been asked to share their 3 generations documents i.e. 75-year land records to have a claim on their Forest and its resources.”

On Sunday, a group of women protesters from Shaheen Bagh also organized a rally to march to the Ministry of Home Affairs. “After Amit Shah offered to talk to protesters to help the protesters gain better understanding of CAA, the protesting women including ‘dadis’ decided to tell him that they were neither ignorant nor confused about the CAA. They know that it is unconstitutional and want it to be scrapped. In fact, they said they could help Amit Shah understand the Constitution. That is why they wanted to march to the MHA,” said Khan explaining the reason behind yesterday’s rally. But the police prevented the protesters from marching to the MHA. “First, he offers to talk, then he does not come to meet the protesters, and when they try to visit him, the police who reports to him, stop them,” Khan wonders aloud.

Some images from the rally may be viewed here: 

Shaheen Bagh|

Shaheen Bagh

The protesters at Shaheen Bagh have put forward three key demands:

-        That the un-Constitutional and highly discriminatory CAA be scrapped

-        That all arrested anti-CAA protesters be released immediately and compensation be paid to families of those killed in police firing and crackdowns

-        The Supreme Court hears the petitions against CAA

In wake of back-to-back instances of armed men discharging their weapons on peaceful protesters, first outside Jamia Milia Islamia University (JMIU) and then at Shaheen Bagh, where a majority of the protesters are women, Citizens for Justice and Peace (CJP) and All India Union of Forest Working People (AIUFWP) had come together in solidarity with the peaceful protesters and condemned the attacks on them.

The attacks on the protesters, as well as the inflammatory speeches that incited these attacks, violate several serious sections of the law. Hate speech violates Section 153 (a) (b) (c) and Section 505 of the Indian Penal Code (IPC), as well as Section 295 of the Criminal Procedure Code (CRPC). These speeches and violent attacks also violate Section 307 (attempt to murder) and Section 120-B (Criminal Conspiracy) of the Indian Penal Code.

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Adivasis ousted from both home & land rights through a draconian law: Gujarat

In the guise of tourism, the new Statue of Unity Act not only illegally converts a forested area over which the local tribal population has constitutionally guaranteed rights into an ‘urban’ area in which they will need government permission to do anything but legalizes evictions

17 Feb 2020

Gujarat Adivasi

The recently enacted ‘Statue of Unity (SoU) Area Development and Tourism Governance Act, 2019’ in Gujarat comes amidst a terrifying atmosphere of intimidation, house arrests, detention and, FIRs, not to mention the overarching implementation of Section 144 across the state.

On the face of it, the SoU Act is an innocuous law intended to promote tourism around the giant statue of Sardar Patel. But its actual aims are anything but benign. Even a plain reading of the Act makes it clear it is tailored towards uprooting the local tribals from their own villages and livelihoods, and systematically rendering them stateless.
 

Tourism promotion at any cost

The ‘objectives and reasons’ for the new law reveal its true intent – everything is being done for tourism. It reads:

“Since its dedication to the Nation by the Hon’ble Prime Minister Shri Narendra Modi on the 31st October, 2018, [the Statue of Unity]  has emerged as one of the most favorite tourist destinations in the country. Surrounded by the serene environment with Vindhyachal and Satpuda mountain ranges on either side, this place has become a prominent family tourist destination with addition of a number of allied attractions like Valley of Flowers, Vishwa Van, Jungle Safari, Cactus Garden, Butterfly Garden, Ekta Nursery, Arogya Van, Zarvani Eco-tourism & adventure sports, Khalwani Eco – tourism site, Ekta Mall, Ekta Auditorium, Children Nutrition Park, Mirror Maze, Ekta Food Court and various accommodation facilities. Around 30 million tourists have visited this place in a short spell of about 13 months. […] Therefore, the State Government has deemed it fit to establish an Authority… which would ensure expeditious and planned development of the area, provide appropriate civic amenities and regulate tourism activities so as to provide secure and safe tourism for the tourists.”

In the name of development, the Act focuses so heavily on tourist facilities that in the entire text there is not even a mention of the original actual/original inhabitants of the area – the tribals. The word ‘tourism’ is mentioned in the text 154 times and ‘tourists’ seven times. But there is no concern expressed for the local tribals’ loss of land and livelihood, much less any solution provided to how the displaced will be compensated and their rights restored.

The Act is written as if there was no human habitation around the Stature of Unity and the government of the day discovered a virgin area by chance and decided to explore its tourism potential to the full. To call this “development” is to insult and mock the term.


Environmental, wildlife, wetland laws not to apply

Looking at the SoU Act, one might conclude that the area it covers is not part of India, and, therefore, the following laws do not apply to it:  (1) The Wildlife (Protection) Act 1972; (2) The Environmental Impact Assessment Notification 2006; (3) The Environment (Protection) Act 1986; (4) The Wetlands (Conservation and Management) Rules 2010; (5) The Solid Waste Management Rules, 2016; (6) The Water (Prevention and Control of Pollution) Act, 1974; (7) The Right to Fair Compensation and Transparency in Land Acquisition, Rehabilitation and Resettlement Act, 2013, (8) The Street Vendors (Protection of Livelihood and Regulation of Street Vending) Act, 2014. Excluding the SoU area from these laws, and for no valid reason, is blatantly unconstitutional.

For the government, the multi-crore SoU and related tourism projects might be a dream fulfilled. But the hidden reality of the project is that it will rob indigenous people of their homes, lands and traditional livelihoods, and will almost certainly damage the Narmada river ecosystem, the biodiversity of the region and the Shoolpaneshwar Sanctuary, as well as the flow to the downstream river. The potential harm to the ecological structures and functions in and around the area will place an enormous burden on the local people and extract a huge price from them in an era of worsening climate crises.

To ensure the Act’s implementation, the government has adopted a multi-pronged approach of complete surveillance, intimidation and suppression of rights of the local villagers and concerned citizens. Non-state actors have been deployed by the government to create an atmosphere of extreme fear in the 72+ villages that are impacted by the SoU and related projects and the six plus villages that have been vacated “voluntarily”. Kevadia and the SoU area are in a state of panic with rampant violations of the law and the basic principles of human rights, freedom of expression and freedom of movement.


Adivasis as ‘occupiers’

Under section 2. (I) (i)), the Act refers to the original inhabitants – the local tribals – as ‘occupiers’ To quote:

 ” ‘occupier’ includes, … (ii) an owner living in or otherwise using his land or building; … but, shall not include a person who on the date of commencement of this Act is in illegal possession of any land which has been acquired by the State Government or by any other authority and has vested in the State Government and shall not also include a person who has encroached upon such land;”.

The constitutional provisions of Schedule V for forested areas inhabited by indigenous tribals and the Panchayats Extension to Scheduled Area Act, 1996 (PESA) – both of which apply to this area – are completely missing from this Act.

PESA in Gujarat exclusively empowers the gram sabha to implement certain crucial tasks like approving any plan, project or programme for the development of the village, and selecting beneficiaries under the poverty alleviation and other programmes. The present Act eliminates the power of the gram sabha for reasons that should be self-evident. It is starkly evident that the Act has been created in order to appropriate the powers and mandate conferred on local self-governing institutions by the 73rd and 74th amendments to the constitution and extension of PESA in the region.

Interestingly, Section 2. (c)  of the Act describes a developer thus:

 “’developer’ means a person or entity with whom a concession agreement is entered into or a project has been awarded and for which such other agreement is entered into for furtherance of the objectives of this Act;…” It is crucial to note that the Act talks of ‘Concession Agreement’.  Section 2(e) of the Act states, “ ‘development plan’ means a plan for the development or re-development or improvement of a Tourism development area.”

There is no obfuscation of intent here. Development means tourism development and not the development of or for the local people of the area.


Forest to urban area with the stroke of a pen

Further, the Act converts a forested region into an urban area for tourism with no representation of tribals or even administrative representations vide the departments related to tribal affairs, rural areas, and the environment; instead, the Act mentions departments related to urban, tourism, town planning, etc.

Under section 2(b), the Act states that “‘building operations’ shall have the same meaning as is assigned to it under clause (vi) of section 2 of the Gujarat Town Planning and Urban Development Act, 1976..;” which makes it clear that ‘Schedule V’ area has been unconstitutionally converted  into an urban town area.

The Act states in section 31 (1)

 “The State Government may, having regard to the proviso to clause (1) of Article 243Q of the Constitution of India, consider the Tourism development area to be an industrial township, and may by notification, declare the Tourism development area to be a notified area: Provided that, the State Government may, while declaring the notified area, include or exclude the village site area (gamtal) of a Village Panchayat or Municipal area.”

[…]

Section 38 says, “(1) Notwithstanding anything contained in this Act or in any other law for the time being in force, no person shall have any right or any claim over any land which has been acquired by the State Government or by any Government agency prior to coming into force of this Act within the Tourism Development area and had vested in it, (2) It shall be competent for the State Government to remove any person from the land referred to in sub-section (1).”

This provision which attempts to convert a Schedule V and PESA area into an industrial township is prima facie ab-initio void.

The Act does not stop here. In section 3 (3), the Act says:

 “The State Government may also, by notification in the Official Gazette, extend the Tourism development area as and when it deems fit. …. Section 4 (2) states that “The headquarters of the SOU Tourism Authority shall be at Kevadia, District Narmada: Provided that the State Government may, by notification in the Official Gazette, specify any other place as the headquarters of the SOU Tourism Authority. … Section (3) (a) says, “The SOU Tourism Authority shall consist of 22 members from different authorities, out of that President, the District Panchayat will be locally elected. Final authority lies with state government.”


Plenty of amenities, but not for Adivasis

Under section 2(a), the Act defines ‘amenities’ as “basic and essential services including but not limited to roads, bridges, bypasses and underpasses, drainage, water supply, power supply and electrical installations, collection-treatment- discharge and disposal of institutional and township waste, health, education, transport, disaster management, parks, green areas, gas pipeline, entertainment, hospitality, recreation, industry, townships and institutional areas and other facilities of conveniences and such other services as the SOUADTG Authority may specify;”. This makes it abundantly clear that everything in the Act is for tourism and nothing for the local tribals(Adivasis).

Under section 9. (xii), the Act promises

“sufficient civic amenities including drainage and services including hospitals and medical services, schools, fire services, public parks, markets and shopping places, play grounds, entertainment areas and disposal of waste.”

At (xiii), the Act talks of

“sustainable arrangements for providing and maintaining the highest standards in civic amenities such as water supply, sewerage, power supply, transportation, communication, infrastructure and services particularly for cleanliness, aesthetics, health, hygiene, etc.”

Phrases such as ‘sufficient civic amenities’ and ‘highest standards in civic amenities’, again raise the question: for whom and at whose cost? Obviously these amenities are definitely and exclusively meant for tourists and the tourism industry and will be  at the cost of the local tribals. At no point does the Act state that the so-called highest standards in civic amenities and other facilities will also be available to the local tribals or ‘occupiers’.

Restrictions introduced on Adivasis

Not only is the welfare of the tribals (Adivasis) absent as a concern, Chapter VI (Control, Regulation and Development in Tourism Development Area) the Act actually places restrictions on them. Section 11 (1) states that,

“On or after the date on which the SOU Tourism Authority is constituted, no person shall carry on any development in any building or in or over any land, within the limits of the said Tourism development area without the permission in writing of the SOU Tourism Authority.”

Section 13 (1 ) states,

“Any person not being the Central Government or a State Government, intending to retain any use of building or work constructed or carried out on any land, or to continue any use of any particular land, before the date on which a final development plan comes into force, which is not in conformity with the provisions of the regulations or the final development plan, shall make an application in writing to the SOU Tourism Authority for permission to retain or continue such use, containing such particulars and accompanied by such documents and such fees as may be determined by regulations, within six months from the date on which the final development plan in respect of such Tourism development area comes into force.”

Who monitors the actions of the SOUTA? Are they allowed a free hand in this area?

The words “shall make an application in writing to the SOU Tourism Authority for permission to retain or continue such use” clearly imply that the local tribals have to renew or reregister everything, even their existence, via a written application – as if they are outsiders.


State authority can enter any home at will

The Act states under section 42. (1) states:

“For the discharge of duties and functions cast under this Act any person authorized by SOU Tourism Authority or any other person authorized by the State Government or any authority shall be authorized to enter into or upon any land or building with or without assistance: Provided that –

(i) no such entry shall be made except between the hours of sunrise and sunset or without giving its occupier at least 24 hours’ notice in writing of the intention to enter in the case of any building used as a dwelling house or in the land wherein such building exists;

(ii) sufficient opportunity shall be given to enable a woman to withdraw from such land or building;

(iii) due regard shall always be had to the social and religious usages of the occupants of the land or building entered.

(2) Any person who obstructs the entry of a person empowered or authorised under this section to enter into or upon any land or building shall on conviction, be punishable with imprisonment for a term which may extend to one year or with fine which may extend to fifty thousand rupees or with both.

What emerges from the above provisions is a draconian law that empowers the state to act against its most vulnerable citizens, the local tribals of the area.

statue of unity

 

Curbs even on the right to protest?

The Act tries to redefine the people’s fundamental rights to protest by stating under section 26:

 “Notwithstanding anything contained in any other law for the time being in force, or any instrument, contract or usage or any order, judgment or decree of any court, no person, company, association or firm or any other body shall cause any nuisance within the Tourism development area.”

Further under section  27 (1),

“The Prescribed Authority, either on its own motion or upon a complaint received or upon reference made to him, may, by an order in writing and without giving any prior notice, prohibit any nuisance being caused or prevent any such activity, process, operation being carried out, if in his opinion, the same has damaged or deteriorated or is likely to damage or affect adversely to tourism potentiality of the Tourism development area, and pass such interim orders as it deems fit.”

The immunity provided to the authorities to terrorise the local inhabitants is made clear in section 51:

“No suit, prosecution or other legal proceedings shall lie against the SOU Tourism Authority, other Government companies or any of their committees, members, officers and employees for anything which is in good faith done or intended to be done in pursuance of the provisions of this Act or any rules or regulations made thereunder.”

It should be unambiguously apparent from the above discussion that the state government and, by direct and indirect implication, the Central government, have armed themselves with extraordinary powers in order to ‘develop’ this area exclusively for tourism without caring for the adverse human and environmental consequences and with no provision whatever for the preservation of the rights of the indigenous people.

Indeed, a careful scrutiny of the Act and its directives reveals irresponsible short-sightedness on the part of the state and Central governments. It needs to be recognised that the local tribals are the true nurturers of the forests and their allied ecosystems. These ecosystems, by virtue of their natural processes, automatically form the basis of any recreational activity for the enjoyment and de-stressing of the urban populace.

It should also be noted that we are following in the very footsteps of the so-called “developed” world where the native populations were systematically displaced, leading to the many environmental revolutions of the 1960s by various peoples’ movements. The West learnt from its mistakes and constituted various Natural Conservation Areas. However, much of the indigenous knowledge and cultural base was already lost. It is pertinent to ask where we are headed with our development model. Can we not learn from the pattern of past mistakes?

The statue of Sardar Patel, its associated ‘projects’ and the Act have today become de facto symbols of resource destruction, river lynching and subjugation of the indigenous population – who have come to live in fear of the state and its violence. All this in the name of “Unity”.

Rohit Prajapati and Krishnakant and Gujarat-based activists.

Adivasis ousted from both home & land rights through a draconian law: Gujarat

In the guise of tourism, the new Statue of Unity Act not only illegally converts a forested area over which the local tribal population has constitutionally guaranteed rights into an ‘urban’ area in which they will need government permission to do anything but legalizes evictions

Gujarat Adivasi

The recently enacted ‘Statue of Unity (SoU) Area Development and Tourism Governance Act, 2019’ in Gujarat comes amidst a terrifying atmosphere of intimidation, house arrests, detention and, FIRs, not to mention the overarching implementation of Section 144 across the state.

On the face of it, the SoU Act is an innocuous law intended to promote tourism around the giant statue of Sardar Patel. But its actual aims are anything but benign. Even a plain reading of the Act makes it clear it is tailored towards uprooting the local tribals from their own villages and livelihoods, and systematically rendering them stateless.
 

Tourism promotion at any cost

The ‘objectives and reasons’ for the new law reveal its true intent – everything is being done for tourism. It reads:

“Since its dedication to the Nation by the Hon’ble Prime Minister Shri Narendra Modi on the 31st October, 2018, [the Statue of Unity]  has emerged as one of the most favorite tourist destinations in the country. Surrounded by the serene environment with Vindhyachal and Satpuda mountain ranges on either side, this place has become a prominent family tourist destination with addition of a number of allied attractions like Valley of Flowers, Vishwa Van, Jungle Safari, Cactus Garden, Butterfly Garden, Ekta Nursery, Arogya Van, Zarvani Eco-tourism & adventure sports, Khalwani Eco – tourism site, Ekta Mall, Ekta Auditorium, Children Nutrition Park, Mirror Maze, Ekta Food Court and various accommodation facilities. Around 30 million tourists have visited this place in a short spell of about 13 months. […] Therefore, the State Government has deemed it fit to establish an Authority… which would ensure expeditious and planned development of the area, provide appropriate civic amenities and regulate tourism activities so as to provide secure and safe tourism for the tourists.”

In the name of development, the Act focuses so heavily on tourist facilities that in the entire text there is not even a mention of the original actual/original inhabitants of the area – the tribals. The word ‘tourism’ is mentioned in the text 154 times and ‘tourists’ seven times. But there is no concern expressed for the local tribals’ loss of land and livelihood, much less any solution provided to how the displaced will be compensated and their rights restored.

The Act is written as if there was no human habitation around the Stature of Unity and the government of the day discovered a virgin area by chance and decided to explore its tourism potential to the full. To call this “development” is to insult and mock the term.


Environmental, wildlife, wetland laws not to apply

Looking at the SoU Act, one might conclude that the area it covers is not part of India, and, therefore, the following laws do not apply to it:  (1) The Wildlife (Protection) Act 1972; (2) The Environmental Impact Assessment Notification 2006; (3) The Environment (Protection) Act 1986; (4) The Wetlands (Conservation and Management) Rules 2010; (5) The Solid Waste Management Rules, 2016; (6) The Water (Prevention and Control of Pollution) Act, 1974; (7) The Right to Fair Compensation and Transparency in Land Acquisition, Rehabilitation and Resettlement Act, 2013, (8) The Street Vendors (Protection of Livelihood and Regulation of Street Vending) Act, 2014. Excluding the SoU area from these laws, and for no valid reason, is blatantly unconstitutional.

For the government, the multi-crore SoU and related tourism projects might be a dream fulfilled. But the hidden reality of the project is that it will rob indigenous people of their homes, lands and traditional livelihoods, and will almost certainly damage the Narmada river ecosystem, the biodiversity of the region and the Shoolpaneshwar Sanctuary, as well as the flow to the downstream river. The potential harm to the ecological structures and functions in and around the area will place an enormous burden on the local people and extract a huge price from them in an era of worsening climate crises.

To ensure the Act’s implementation, the government has adopted a multi-pronged approach of complete surveillance, intimidation and suppression of rights of the local villagers and concerned citizens. Non-state actors have been deployed by the government to create an atmosphere of extreme fear in the 72+ villages that are impacted by the SoU and related projects and the six plus villages that have been vacated “voluntarily”. Kevadia and the SoU area are in a state of panic with rampant violations of the law and the basic principles of human rights, freedom of expression and freedom of movement.


Adivasis as ‘occupiers’

Under section 2. (I) (i)), the Act refers to the original inhabitants – the local tribals – as ‘occupiers’ To quote:

 ” ‘occupier’ includes, … (ii) an owner living in or otherwise using his land or building; … but, shall not include a person who on the date of commencement of this Act is in illegal possession of any land which has been acquired by the State Government or by any other authority and has vested in the State Government and shall not also include a person who has encroached upon such land;”.

The constitutional provisions of Schedule V for forested areas inhabited by indigenous tribals and the Panchayats Extension to Scheduled Area Act, 1996 (PESA) – both of which apply to this area – are completely missing from this Act.

PESA in Gujarat exclusively empowers the gram sabha to implement certain crucial tasks like approving any plan, project or programme for the development of the village, and selecting beneficiaries under the poverty alleviation and other programmes. The present Act eliminates the power of the gram sabha for reasons that should be self-evident. It is starkly evident that the Act has been created in order to appropriate the powers and mandate conferred on local self-governing institutions by the 73rd and 74th amendments to the constitution and extension of PESA in the region.

Interestingly, Section 2. (c)  of the Act describes a developer thus:

 “’developer’ means a person or entity with whom a concession agreement is entered into or a project has been awarded and for which such other agreement is entered into for furtherance of the objectives of this Act;…” It is crucial to note that the Act talks of ‘Concession Agreement’.  Section 2(e) of the Act states, “ ‘development plan’ means a plan for the development or re-development or improvement of a Tourism development area.”

There is no obfuscation of intent here. Development means tourism development and not the development of or for the local people of the area.


Forest to urban area with the stroke of a pen

Further, the Act converts a forested region into an urban area for tourism with no representation of tribals or even administrative representations vide the departments related to tribal affairs, rural areas, and the environment; instead, the Act mentions departments related to urban, tourism, town planning, etc.

Under section 2(b), the Act states that “‘building operations’ shall have the same meaning as is assigned to it under clause (vi) of section 2 of the Gujarat Town Planning and Urban Development Act, 1976..;” which makes it clear that ‘Schedule V’ area has been unconstitutionally converted  into an urban town area.

The Act states in section 31 (1)

 “The State Government may, having regard to the proviso to clause (1) of Article 243Q of the Constitution of India, consider the Tourism development area to be an industrial township, and may by notification, declare the Tourism development area to be a notified area: Provided that, the State Government may, while declaring the notified area, include or exclude the village site area (gamtal) of a Village Panchayat or Municipal area.”

[…]

Section 38 says, “(1) Notwithstanding anything contained in this Act or in any other law for the time being in force, no person shall have any right or any claim over any land which has been acquired by the State Government or by any Government agency prior to coming into force of this Act within the Tourism Development area and had vested in it, (2) It shall be competent for the State Government to remove any person from the land referred to in sub-section (1).”

This provision which attempts to convert a Schedule V and PESA area into an industrial township is prima facie ab-initio void.

The Act does not stop here. In section 3 (3), the Act says:

 “The State Government may also, by notification in the Official Gazette, extend the Tourism development area as and when it deems fit. …. Section 4 (2) states that “The headquarters of the SOU Tourism Authority shall be at Kevadia, District Narmada: Provided that the State Government may, by notification in the Official Gazette, specify any other place as the headquarters of the SOU Tourism Authority. … Section (3) (a) says, “The SOU Tourism Authority shall consist of 22 members from different authorities, out of that President, the District Panchayat will be locally elected. Final authority lies with state government.”


Plenty of amenities, but not for Adivasis

Under section 2(a), the Act defines ‘amenities’ as “basic and essential services including but not limited to roads, bridges, bypasses and underpasses, drainage, water supply, power supply and electrical installations, collection-treatment- discharge and disposal of institutional and township waste, health, education, transport, disaster management, parks, green areas, gas pipeline, entertainment, hospitality, recreation, industry, townships and institutional areas and other facilities of conveniences and such other services as the SOUADTG Authority may specify;”. This makes it abundantly clear that everything in the Act is for tourism and nothing for the local tribals(Adivasis).

Under section 9. (xii), the Act promises

“sufficient civic amenities including drainage and services including hospitals and medical services, schools, fire services, public parks, markets and shopping places, play grounds, entertainment areas and disposal of waste.”

At (xiii), the Act talks of

“sustainable arrangements for providing and maintaining the highest standards in civic amenities such as water supply, sewerage, power supply, transportation, communication, infrastructure and services particularly for cleanliness, aesthetics, health, hygiene, etc.”

Phrases such as ‘sufficient civic amenities’ and ‘highest standards in civic amenities’, again raise the question: for whom and at whose cost? Obviously these amenities are definitely and exclusively meant for tourists and the tourism industry and will be  at the cost of the local tribals. At no point does the Act state that the so-called highest standards in civic amenities and other facilities will also be available to the local tribals or ‘occupiers’.

Restrictions introduced on Adivasis

Not only is the welfare of the tribals (Adivasis) absent as a concern, Chapter VI (Control, Regulation and Development in Tourism Development Area) the Act actually places restrictions on them. Section 11 (1) states that,

“On or after the date on which the SOU Tourism Authority is constituted, no person shall carry on any development in any building or in or over any land, within the limits of the said Tourism development area without the permission in writing of the SOU Tourism Authority.”

Section 13 (1 ) states,

“Any person not being the Central Government or a State Government, intending to retain any use of building or work constructed or carried out on any land, or to continue any use of any particular land, before the date on which a final development plan comes into force, which is not in conformity with the provisions of the regulations or the final development plan, shall make an application in writing to the SOU Tourism Authority for permission to retain or continue such use, containing such particulars and accompanied by such documents and such fees as may be determined by regulations, within six months from the date on which the final development plan in respect of such Tourism development area comes into force.”

Who monitors the actions of the SOUTA? Are they allowed a free hand in this area?

The words “shall make an application in writing to the SOU Tourism Authority for permission to retain or continue such use” clearly imply that the local tribals have to renew or reregister everything, even their existence, via a written application – as if they are outsiders.


State authority can enter any home at will

The Act states under section 42. (1) states:

“For the discharge of duties and functions cast under this Act any person authorized by SOU Tourism Authority or any other person authorized by the State Government or any authority shall be authorized to enter into or upon any land or building with or without assistance: Provided that –

(i) no such entry shall be made except between the hours of sunrise and sunset or without giving its occupier at least 24 hours’ notice in writing of the intention to enter in the case of any building used as a dwelling house or in the land wherein such building exists;

(ii) sufficient opportunity shall be given to enable a woman to withdraw from such land or building;

(iii) due regard shall always be had to the social and religious usages of the occupants of the land or building entered.

(2) Any person who obstructs the entry of a person empowered or authorised under this section to enter into or upon any land or building shall on conviction, be punishable with imprisonment for a term which may extend to one year or with fine which may extend to fifty thousand rupees or with both.

What emerges from the above provisions is a draconian law that empowers the state to act against its most vulnerable citizens, the local tribals of the area.

statue of unity

 

Curbs even on the right to protest?

The Act tries to redefine the people’s fundamental rights to protest by stating under section 26:

 “Notwithstanding anything contained in any other law for the time being in force, or any instrument, contract or usage or any order, judgment or decree of any court, no person, company, association or firm or any other body shall cause any nuisance within the Tourism development area.”

Further under section  27 (1),

“The Prescribed Authority, either on its own motion or upon a complaint received or upon reference made to him, may, by an order in writing and without giving any prior notice, prohibit any nuisance being caused or prevent any such activity, process, operation being carried out, if in his opinion, the same has damaged or deteriorated or is likely to damage or affect adversely to tourism potentiality of the Tourism development area, and pass such interim orders as it deems fit.”

The immunity provided to the authorities to terrorise the local inhabitants is made clear in section 51:

“No suit, prosecution or other legal proceedings shall lie against the SOU Tourism Authority, other Government companies or any of their committees, members, officers and employees for anything which is in good faith done or intended to be done in pursuance of the provisions of this Act or any rules or regulations made thereunder.”

It should be unambiguously apparent from the above discussion that the state government and, by direct and indirect implication, the Central government, have armed themselves with extraordinary powers in order to ‘develop’ this area exclusively for tourism without caring for the adverse human and environmental consequences and with no provision whatever for the preservation of the rights of the indigenous people.

Indeed, a careful scrutiny of the Act and its directives reveals irresponsible short-sightedness on the part of the state and Central governments. It needs to be recognised that the local tribals are the true nurturers of the forests and their allied ecosystems. These ecosystems, by virtue of their natural processes, automatically form the basis of any recreational activity for the enjoyment and de-stressing of the urban populace.

It should also be noted that we are following in the very footsteps of the so-called “developed” world where the native populations were systematically displaced, leading to the many environmental revolutions of the 1960s by various peoples’ movements. The West learnt from its mistakes and constituted various Natural Conservation Areas. However, much of the indigenous knowledge and cultural base was already lost. It is pertinent to ask where we are headed with our development model. Can we not learn from the pattern of past mistakes?

The statue of Sardar Patel, its associated ‘projects’ and the Act have today become de facto symbols of resource destruction, river lynching and subjugation of the indigenous population – who have come to live in fear of the state and its violence. All this in the name of “Unity”.

Rohit Prajapati and Krishnakant and Gujarat-based activists.

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Dalit groups call for Bharat Bandh post SC order on reservations

​​​​​​In a February 7 order, the SC said that courts cannot give directions compelling states to reserve jobs for SC / STs

16 Feb 2020

dalit on reservations

Dalit groups are said to have announced an agitation against the Supreme Court’s (SC) February 7, 2020 order which stated that reservations for promotions in government jobs is not a fundamental right and that courts cannot give directions compelling States to reserve jobs or positions for the Scheduled Castes and Scheduled Tribes (SC / STs), reported The Daily Pioneer.

 

 

The Supreme Court’s order in the matter had stated that the states that wished to provide quotas would have to submit data on the under-representation of SC / STs in public jobs and that the ‘creamy layer’ (the more economically well-to-do part of the backward classes) wouldn’t be benefitted at the expense of the most undeserving.

Post this, a storm was raised in the Parliament by the Opposition parties demanding that a review petition be filed against the decision or that the Constitution be amended to make reservation a fundamental right.  

The Congress, Lok Janshakti Party (LJP) and Janata Dal United (JDU) contended that the SC order was anti-Dalit. The issue turned into a political slugfest with the Opposition and the NDA blaming each other.

The Tribune reported that outside the Parliament Rahul Gandhi targeted the State’s counsels who argued that reservation wasn’t a fundamental right and said, “The RSS and the BJP cannot stand the idea that Dalits, tribals and OBCs have reservation. They have attempted to remove reservation. They demolished the Ravidas temple here. You saw what they did to the SC-ST sub-plan. Now they are arguing that reservation is not a fundamental right. It is in their DNA to try and erase reservations but no matter what their fantasies, we won’t let it happen.”  

As the Opposition staged a walkout, Thawar Chand Gehlot, a member of the BJP and Social Justice Minister said, “This is a very important issue. We are conducting a high-level review. The Government of India was neither made a party to this case nor was its affidavit sought. The SC order emanates from a September 5, 2012, decision of the then Congress-led government of Uttarakhand to not grant reservation in promotions to SCs and STs.”

In July 2012, the Uttarakhand High Court, while hearing the case of Vinod Prakash Nautiyal vs the State of Uttarakhand, barred reservations in promotions and in September 2012, the Uttarakhand state government issued an order barring departments from giving reservations in promotions to SC / ST employees.

In April 2019, the Uttarakhand HC quashed the state government’s order and in September 2019, the state government put all promotions on hold in the state government departments. Two months later, the Uttarakhand HC put aside the order quashing the state government’s directions. It then directed the Uttarakhand government to collect data on “adequacy/inadequacy in the representation of SCs and STs before providing reservation for the posts that are filled through promotions in government jobs”. In the same month, the state government and a body of general and Other Backward Classes (OBC) employees filed a special leave petition in the Supreme Court.

Speaking to PTI, Union Minister Ram Vilas Paswan asked to "rectify" the Supreme Court verdict, an ordinance should be brought and the Constitution should be amended and all such issues should be included in the Ninth Schedule of the Constitution to insulate them from judicial review so that they aren’t delayed due to legal wrangles.

He said, “The Supreme Court saying that it is up to the state government for giving reservation in jobs and it is not a fundamental right...This is all part of the Constitution, and the people have this objection that the verdict is against the interests of the SCs and STs.”

He also said that around 70 Dalit and tribal MPs, including Union Ministers had gathered for a meeting earlier in the week and decided to put forth two main demands to the government - an ordinance be passed and then Constitutional amendment made to nullify the Supreme Court verdict on reservation in jobs and also have an Indian Judicial Service to ensure representation of SCs, STs and OBCs in the higher judiciary.
 

Related:

Backdoor NPR-NRC? Parents DOB for KYC; great grandfather’s address for passport re-issue

Don’t label anti-CAA protesters ‘traitors’, people bound to defend rights in a democracy: Bombay HC

 

Dalit groups call for Bharat Bandh post SC order on reservations

​​​​​​In a February 7 order, the SC said that courts cannot give directions compelling states to reserve jobs for SC / STs

dalit on reservations

Dalit groups are said to have announced an agitation against the Supreme Court’s (SC) February 7, 2020 order which stated that reservations for promotions in government jobs is not a fundamental right and that courts cannot give directions compelling States to reserve jobs or positions for the Scheduled Castes and Scheduled Tribes (SC / STs), reported The Daily Pioneer.

 

 

The Supreme Court’s order in the matter had stated that the states that wished to provide quotas would have to submit data on the under-representation of SC / STs in public jobs and that the ‘creamy layer’ (the more economically well-to-do part of the backward classes) wouldn’t be benefitted at the expense of the most undeserving.

Post this, a storm was raised in the Parliament by the Opposition parties demanding that a review petition be filed against the decision or that the Constitution be amended to make reservation a fundamental right.  

The Congress, Lok Janshakti Party (LJP) and Janata Dal United (JDU) contended that the SC order was anti-Dalit. The issue turned into a political slugfest with the Opposition and the NDA blaming each other.

The Tribune reported that outside the Parliament Rahul Gandhi targeted the State’s counsels who argued that reservation wasn’t a fundamental right and said, “The RSS and the BJP cannot stand the idea that Dalits, tribals and OBCs have reservation. They have attempted to remove reservation. They demolished the Ravidas temple here. You saw what they did to the SC-ST sub-plan. Now they are arguing that reservation is not a fundamental right. It is in their DNA to try and erase reservations but no matter what their fantasies, we won’t let it happen.”  

As the Opposition staged a walkout, Thawar Chand Gehlot, a member of the BJP and Social Justice Minister said, “This is a very important issue. We are conducting a high-level review. The Government of India was neither made a party to this case nor was its affidavit sought. The SC order emanates from a September 5, 2012, decision of the then Congress-led government of Uttarakhand to not grant reservation in promotions to SCs and STs.”

In July 2012, the Uttarakhand High Court, while hearing the case of Vinod Prakash Nautiyal vs the State of Uttarakhand, barred reservations in promotions and in September 2012, the Uttarakhand state government issued an order barring departments from giving reservations in promotions to SC / ST employees.

In April 2019, the Uttarakhand HC quashed the state government’s order and in September 2019, the state government put all promotions on hold in the state government departments. Two months later, the Uttarakhand HC put aside the order quashing the state government’s directions. It then directed the Uttarakhand government to collect data on “adequacy/inadequacy in the representation of SCs and STs before providing reservation for the posts that are filled through promotions in government jobs”. In the same month, the state government and a body of general and Other Backward Classes (OBC) employees filed a special leave petition in the Supreme Court.

Speaking to PTI, Union Minister Ram Vilas Paswan asked to "rectify" the Supreme Court verdict, an ordinance should be brought and the Constitution should be amended and all such issues should be included in the Ninth Schedule of the Constitution to insulate them from judicial review so that they aren’t delayed due to legal wrangles.

He said, “The Supreme Court saying that it is up to the state government for giving reservation in jobs and it is not a fundamental right...This is all part of the Constitution, and the people have this objection that the verdict is against the interests of the SCs and STs.”

He also said that around 70 Dalit and tribal MPs, including Union Ministers had gathered for a meeting earlier in the week and decided to put forth two main demands to the government - an ordinance be passed and then Constitutional amendment made to nullify the Supreme Court verdict on reservation in jobs and also have an Indian Judicial Service to ensure representation of SCs, STs and OBCs in the higher judiciary.
 

Related:

Backdoor NPR-NRC? Parents DOB for KYC; great grandfather’s address for passport re-issue

Don’t label anti-CAA protesters ‘traitors’, people bound to defend rights in a democracy: Bombay HC

 

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Illegal Arrest of a penniless Adivasi:  MP HC Court penalises govt officials, orders reparation

The Court used the Jurisprudential concept of ‘Constitutional Tort’, and said that since the State has arrogantly deprived an innocent person of his Liberty, the aggrieved person must be compensated for the loss of it’ Husan, an Adivasi has been granted Rs 5,00,000 as compensation for being deprived of his personal liberty.

13 Feb 2020

MP High Court

The unlawful arrest of n unlettered, penniless tribal, Husan, aged 68 years, by the Madhya Pradesh Police, who was then presented before a magistrate, who then mechanically sent him to prison came in for sharp criticism and corrective measures by the MP HC recently.

Following a Habeous Corpus petition filed before the Court, his son Kamlesh sought the release of his father arguing that the police had arrested his innocent father who had committed no crime. The Court rapped the knuckles of state of MP’s officers for arguing in support of their illegal actions and of a Sub Divisional Officer (Police) for giving false information on affidavit. It ordered a separate contempt case against all officers involved.  (Kamlesh S/o Husan v/s The State of Madhya Pradesh & Others-Writ Petition No.26923/2019)

The counsel for the petitioner brought the facts before the court that there was one life convict named Husna, also known as ‘Bada Husna’, who was out on parole. He had been convicted of committing murder and had died on September 10, 2016 while on parole. The police arrested Husan instead of Husna and presented him before the Station House Officer, Bar, who mechanically arrested Husan and produced him before the Chief Judicial Magistrate Dhar. The Magistrate issued a jail warrant and Husanwas sent to jail without even being given a proper hearing as is required under law. The poor Adivasi begged the police for mercy and cried that he had not murdered anyone. His cries were unheard.

The Sub Divisional Officer (Police) submitted a report in the matter to the High Court stating categorically that the person who has beensent to Jail is Husana who was convicted in Session Trial No. 41/1976.

The court ordered an immediate inquiry in the matter by Principal Secretary Home Department based upon the finger prints and other materials on record to ascertain whether an innocent person has been sent to jail or not? Was it the father of the petitioner who was convicted in the Sessions Trial No. 41/1976?

Stressing the fact that the case involves the personal liberty of an individual who has stated that he has been jailed without any crime being committed on his part, the court gave the Principal Secretary Home Department an extremely short period of seven days to conduct the enquiry and ascertain the facts. In case of inability to do so, the Secretary Home was ordered to be present before the court personally at the next date of hearing.

The Secretary Home submitted that the person arrested (Husan) by the Police and the person sought by the Police (Husna) are two different persons. While Husna is dead, Husan is an innocent person. The result was arrived at by simple comparison of fingerprints. The finger prints of the convict Husna from when he was first lodged in Jail, did not match the fingerprints of Husan. Therefore, an innocent person is languished in jail for the last four months. He was sent to jail on October 18, 2019 and until the date of the hearing of the petition, was still in Jail. The court remarked that “It is really unfortunate that while filing a return in the present case, an attempt was made by the State of Madhya Pradesh that the person who is in jail is a convict in respect of Session Trial No. 41/1976.”

In a refreshing turn of events, the court took cognizance of the fact that the Sub Divisional Magistrate (Police) made an incorrect statement on affidavit, and ordered a separate case of contempt to be registered against the SDM. The court went a step ahead and ordered that “Not only this, a contempt case be also registered against all those persons who have made various entries in the Rojnamcha dated 18-10-2019 stating that the father of the petitioner is Husna and he has been arrested.”

The Court used the Jurisprudential concept of ‘Constitutional Tort’, and said that since the State has arrogantly deprived an innocent person of his Liberty, the aggrieved person must be compensated for the loss of it. Observing a poor tribal aged about 68 years, was detained illegally by the State Government and all attempts were made to justify his illegal custody as legal custody, no amount of monetary compensation is going to compensate the poor tribal. However, since it is in the interest of justice to compensate the Husan, that court said that the “State Government shall pay a compensation of Rs.5,00,000/- (Rupees Five Lakh Only) to the father of the petitioner.”

The doctrine of ‘Constitutional Tort’ became a widely celebrated principle in Indian Jurisprudence specially from the case of Rudul Sah vs State Of Bihar And Another(1983 AIR 1086)where, the Apex court was dealing with the illegal incarceration of one Rudul Sah, who was went in Prison even after his acquittal for a terrifying period of 14 years. The Apex Court had observed through Justice Y.V. Chandrachud that:

“One of the telling ways in which the violation of that right can reasonably be prevented and due compliance with the mandate of Article 21 secured, is to mulct its violators in the payment of monetary compensation. Administrative sclerosis leading to flagrant infringements of fundamental rights cannot be corrected by any other method open to the judiciary to adopt. The right to compensation is some palliative for the unlawful acts of instrumentalities which act in the name of public interest and which present for their protection the powers of the State as a shield. If civilization is not to perish in this country as it has perished in some others too well-known to suffer mention, it is necessary to educate ourselves into accepting that, respect for the rights of individuals is the true bastion of democracy. Therefore, the State must repair the damage done by its officers to the petitioner's rights. It may have recourse against those officers.”


In the present case of illegal incarceration of Husan, the court passed directions to ensure that such an error is not committed again  and said that “The present case is an example of arresting innocent people without identifying them properly, and therefore, it is directed that in all cases, where an arrest is made, the authorities shall identify the persons so arrested on the basis of Bio-metric as well as other documents in order to ensure their identity, in order to ensure that no innocent person like the father of the present petitioner, Husan go to jail again.”

On basis of the above case of Rudul Sah, it is also open for Husan to claim further damages from the State of Madhya Pradesh in a Civil Court by proving the necessary facts. The further quantum of compensation from the Civil Court shall not be reduced on the ground that a compensation of 5 Lakhs has already been given by the High Court.

The Kamlesh s/o Husan v/s state of MP judgement may be read here:

The Rudul Sah vs State Of Bihar judgement may be read here:

 

 

Illegal Arrest of a penniless Adivasi:  MP HC Court penalises govt officials, orders reparation

The Court used the Jurisprudential concept of ‘Constitutional Tort’, and said that since the State has arrogantly deprived an innocent person of his Liberty, the aggrieved person must be compensated for the loss of it’ Husan, an Adivasi has been granted Rs 5,00,000 as compensation for being deprived of his personal liberty.

MP High Court

The unlawful arrest of n unlettered, penniless tribal, Husan, aged 68 years, by the Madhya Pradesh Police, who was then presented before a magistrate, who then mechanically sent him to prison came in for sharp criticism and corrective measures by the MP HC recently.

Following a Habeous Corpus petition filed before the Court, his son Kamlesh sought the release of his father arguing that the police had arrested his innocent father who had committed no crime. The Court rapped the knuckles of state of MP’s officers for arguing in support of their illegal actions and of a Sub Divisional Officer (Police) for giving false information on affidavit. It ordered a separate contempt case against all officers involved.  (Kamlesh S/o Husan v/s The State of Madhya Pradesh & Others-Writ Petition No.26923/2019)

The counsel for the petitioner brought the facts before the court that there was one life convict named Husna, also known as ‘Bada Husna’, who was out on parole. He had been convicted of committing murder and had died on September 10, 2016 while on parole. The police arrested Husan instead of Husna and presented him before the Station House Officer, Bar, who mechanically arrested Husan and produced him before the Chief Judicial Magistrate Dhar. The Magistrate issued a jail warrant and Husanwas sent to jail without even being given a proper hearing as is required under law. The poor Adivasi begged the police for mercy and cried that he had not murdered anyone. His cries were unheard.

The Sub Divisional Officer (Police) submitted a report in the matter to the High Court stating categorically that the person who has beensent to Jail is Husana who was convicted in Session Trial No. 41/1976.

The court ordered an immediate inquiry in the matter by Principal Secretary Home Department based upon the finger prints and other materials on record to ascertain whether an innocent person has been sent to jail or not? Was it the father of the petitioner who was convicted in the Sessions Trial No. 41/1976?

Stressing the fact that the case involves the personal liberty of an individual who has stated that he has been jailed without any crime being committed on his part, the court gave the Principal Secretary Home Department an extremely short period of seven days to conduct the enquiry and ascertain the facts. In case of inability to do so, the Secretary Home was ordered to be present before the court personally at the next date of hearing.

The Secretary Home submitted that the person arrested (Husan) by the Police and the person sought by the Police (Husna) are two different persons. While Husna is dead, Husan is an innocent person. The result was arrived at by simple comparison of fingerprints. The finger prints of the convict Husna from when he was first lodged in Jail, did not match the fingerprints of Husan. Therefore, an innocent person is languished in jail for the last four months. He was sent to jail on October 18, 2019 and until the date of the hearing of the petition, was still in Jail. The court remarked that “It is really unfortunate that while filing a return in the present case, an attempt was made by the State of Madhya Pradesh that the person who is in jail is a convict in respect of Session Trial No. 41/1976.”

In a refreshing turn of events, the court took cognizance of the fact that the Sub Divisional Magistrate (Police) made an incorrect statement on affidavit, and ordered a separate case of contempt to be registered against the SDM. The court went a step ahead and ordered that “Not only this, a contempt case be also registered against all those persons who have made various entries in the Rojnamcha dated 18-10-2019 stating that the father of the petitioner is Husna and he has been arrested.”

The Court used the Jurisprudential concept of ‘Constitutional Tort’, and said that since the State has arrogantly deprived an innocent person of his Liberty, the aggrieved person must be compensated for the loss of it. Observing a poor tribal aged about 68 years, was detained illegally by the State Government and all attempts were made to justify his illegal custody as legal custody, no amount of monetary compensation is going to compensate the poor tribal. However, since it is in the interest of justice to compensate the Husan, that court said that the “State Government shall pay a compensation of Rs.5,00,000/- (Rupees Five Lakh Only) to the father of the petitioner.”

The doctrine of ‘Constitutional Tort’ became a widely celebrated principle in Indian Jurisprudence specially from the case of Rudul Sah vs State Of Bihar And Another(1983 AIR 1086)where, the Apex court was dealing with the illegal incarceration of one Rudul Sah, who was went in Prison even after his acquittal for a terrifying period of 14 years. The Apex Court had observed through Justice Y.V. Chandrachud that:

“One of the telling ways in which the violation of that right can reasonably be prevented and due compliance with the mandate of Article 21 secured, is to mulct its violators in the payment of monetary compensation. Administrative sclerosis leading to flagrant infringements of fundamental rights cannot be corrected by any other method open to the judiciary to adopt. The right to compensation is some palliative for the unlawful acts of instrumentalities which act in the name of public interest and which present for their protection the powers of the State as a shield. If civilization is not to perish in this country as it has perished in some others too well-known to suffer mention, it is necessary to educate ourselves into accepting that, respect for the rights of individuals is the true bastion of democracy. Therefore, the State must repair the damage done by its officers to the petitioner's rights. It may have recourse against those officers.”


In the present case of illegal incarceration of Husan, the court passed directions to ensure that such an error is not committed again  and said that “The present case is an example of arresting innocent people without identifying them properly, and therefore, it is directed that in all cases, where an arrest is made, the authorities shall identify the persons so arrested on the basis of Bio-metric as well as other documents in order to ensure their identity, in order to ensure that no innocent person like the father of the present petitioner, Husan go to jail again.”

On basis of the above case of Rudul Sah, it is also open for Husan to claim further damages from the State of Madhya Pradesh in a Civil Court by proving the necessary facts. The further quantum of compensation from the Civil Court shall not be reduced on the ground that a compensation of 5 Lakhs has already been given by the High Court.

The Kamlesh s/o Husan v/s state of MP judgement may be read here:

The Rudul Sah vs State Of Bihar judgement may be read here:

 

 

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Are Adivasis Hindus?

A separate column for Adivasis (Aboriginis) must be included in the forthcoming Census 2020 as it was in 1951

13 Feb 2020

Adivasis
Representation Image
 

Massive protests are underway against the NPR, NCR and CAA currently. Simultaneously, we are going to begin the process of decadal census in 2021. Already the RSS has been active in promoting NPR, NCR and CAA. At the same time RSS also wants that Adivasis should register themselves as Hindus rather than ticking the column of ‘Others’. As per their spokesperson in the 2011 census many Adivasis groups ticked that column because of which the population of Hindus came down to by 0.7 percent point to come down to 79.8 %. This has sent signals to this Hindu supremacist organization which is planning to ensure that Adivasis tick the column ‘Hindus’ to rev up the statistics in this census.

The RSS has had a very clever approach to defining the term Hindu. The first formulation was by Savarkar who said that all those who regard the land east of Indus as their Holy land and Father land are Hindus. This left out Muslims and Christians, and brought all others within the ambit of Hindu fold. From the decade of 1980s, due to electoral compulsions they have been trying to articulate that all those who live in India are Hindus. Murli Manohar Joshi stated that Muslims are Ahmadiya Hindus and Christians are Christi Hindus. Recently there was a controversy when they restated that Sikhs are not a separate religion but are a sect of Hinduism. Many Sikh organizations stood up to say that Sikhism is a religion by itself and recalled the book of Kahan Singh Nabha, “Hum Hindu Nahin”

What of the Adivasis ? In stark contrast to what is being planned by Hindu supremacist RSS, many Adivasis groups have been meeting over the last couple of years to demand the contrary. They have been demanding a column on the Census form where they can tick their identity as Adivasis.  There are active campaigns among Adivasis groups to uphold their Adivasi identity in the Census. In the first census of Independent India, the column, Aborigines, was included, which was later removed forcing them to club themselves with other religions. This is the stand of India’s Adivasis.

Post 1951, in addition to Hindu, Muslim, Sikh, Christian, Jain and Buddha, the column ‘others’ was included. This was removed in 2011. Even during British period if you look at the censuses of the British era (from 1871 to 1931); there was provision for tribes to choose Aborigine as an option. There are nearly 83 religious practices being followed by Adivasis. Few major of these are Sarna, Gondi, Punem, Adi, and Koya. What they share in common is that they are animists, worship nature and spirit of ancestors; do not have a priestly class or Holy Scriptures and Gods and Goddesses characteristic of the broad Hindu pantheon.

To further its political agenda to transform Indian state and society into a hegemonised Hindu Nation, the RSS has been calling them and dubbing them Vanvasi. They pontificate that they have been part of Hindu society who were driven away to forests to escape the forcible conversion being done by the Muslim invaders. This concoction is contrary to the interpretations based on the studies from the field of population genetics. The Hindu supremacist argues that Aryans have been the original inhabitants of the country from where they spread to other parts of the World. The book by Tony Joseph, ‘Early Indians’ tells us that away from the race theory, we are all mixed up. The first inhabitants in our land were the ones who emigrated from South Asia over 60,000 years ago.

The Indo-Aryans came here nearly three thousand years ago and it was they pushed the aborigines to the forests and hills and that’s what constitutes the Adivasi community of India.

Hindu supremacists like all the supremacist-nationalists, who construct their nationalism around their religion, lay claim to be the original inhabitants of the land, and their interpretations of the past are moulded to fit that narrative. From the start, the RSS has, shunned the word Adivasi, but calls the vast numbers of our indigenous peoples, the Vanvasi. To shore up the numbers, Adivasis must be part of the Hindu fold, despite the Adivasis themselves asserting that they are not Hindus, they have beliefs and practices which are distinct and different from Hinduism, in whatever form.

To enhance its political reach from 1980s in particular, its work in Adivasi areas has intensified. While ‘Vanvasis Kalyan Ashram’, part of RSS combine which was formed much earlier, it was in the decades of 1980s that their work was jacked up by sending more Pracharaks in Adivasi areas. We have seen that in Gujarat, Dangs and nearby area, congregations of Swami Aseemanand, in MP, centered around the followers of Asaram Bapu in Jhabua and Swami Laxmananada in Orissa. They furthered the RSS agenda. They saw Christian missionaries working in the field of education and health as an obstacle to Hinduisation of Adivasis. Their propaganda against Christian missionaries led to the ghastly murder of Pastor Graham Stains. It was this propaganda which led to anti Christian violence in various forms, the most horrific being the Kandhamal violence of 2008.

In order to culturally co-opt them into the fold of Hinduism they began series of religious congregations, Kumbhs. Shabri Kumbh in Dangs and many other Adivasis predominant areas created an atmosphere of fear, Adivasis were asked to be part of it, saffron flags were distributed and they were made to put it in their houses. Two religious icons were popularized in these areas, one was Shabri and other was Hanuman. To cap it all, Ekal Vidyalayas, started spreading RSS’s interpretation of history in these areas. The other angle of the whole thing is that Adivasis are living in the areas rich in minerals, which the BJP supporter Corporate World wants to take over.

The world over aborigines live by similar traditions. They are animists and what they practice is a culture that is distinct. Many have converted to other religions out of their choice for sure, but finally in these matters what is important is their own self perception. Hemant Soren the chief minister of Jharkhand pointed out that “Adivasis are not Hindus.”

Given that, the Census Marker Column for Aboriginis (Adivasis) needs to find its place in our census forms.


Related:

Census Vs. NPR, is the GOI deliberately confusing the citizen?

Census v/s NPR

 

 

Are Adivasis Hindus?

A separate column for Adivasis (Aboriginis) must be included in the forthcoming Census 2020 as it was in 1951

Adivasis
Representation Image
 

Massive protests are underway against the NPR, NCR and CAA currently. Simultaneously, we are going to begin the process of decadal census in 2021. Already the RSS has been active in promoting NPR, NCR and CAA. At the same time RSS also wants that Adivasis should register themselves as Hindus rather than ticking the column of ‘Others’. As per their spokesperson in the 2011 census many Adivasis groups ticked that column because of which the population of Hindus came down to by 0.7 percent point to come down to 79.8 %. This has sent signals to this Hindu supremacist organization which is planning to ensure that Adivasis tick the column ‘Hindus’ to rev up the statistics in this census.

The RSS has had a very clever approach to defining the term Hindu. The first formulation was by Savarkar who said that all those who regard the land east of Indus as their Holy land and Father land are Hindus. This left out Muslims and Christians, and brought all others within the ambit of Hindu fold. From the decade of 1980s, due to electoral compulsions they have been trying to articulate that all those who live in India are Hindus. Murli Manohar Joshi stated that Muslims are Ahmadiya Hindus and Christians are Christi Hindus. Recently there was a controversy when they restated that Sikhs are not a separate religion but are a sect of Hinduism. Many Sikh organizations stood up to say that Sikhism is a religion by itself and recalled the book of Kahan Singh Nabha, “Hum Hindu Nahin”

What of the Adivasis ? In stark contrast to what is being planned by Hindu supremacist RSS, many Adivasis groups have been meeting over the last couple of years to demand the contrary. They have been demanding a column on the Census form where they can tick their identity as Adivasis.  There are active campaigns among Adivasis groups to uphold their Adivasi identity in the Census. In the first census of Independent India, the column, Aborigines, was included, which was later removed forcing them to club themselves with other religions. This is the stand of India’s Adivasis.

Post 1951, in addition to Hindu, Muslim, Sikh, Christian, Jain and Buddha, the column ‘others’ was included. This was removed in 2011. Even during British period if you look at the censuses of the British era (from 1871 to 1931); there was provision for tribes to choose Aborigine as an option. There are nearly 83 religious practices being followed by Adivasis. Few major of these are Sarna, Gondi, Punem, Adi, and Koya. What they share in common is that they are animists, worship nature and spirit of ancestors; do not have a priestly class or Holy Scriptures and Gods and Goddesses characteristic of the broad Hindu pantheon.

To further its political agenda to transform Indian state and society into a hegemonised Hindu Nation, the RSS has been calling them and dubbing them Vanvasi. They pontificate that they have been part of Hindu society who were driven away to forests to escape the forcible conversion being done by the Muslim invaders. This concoction is contrary to the interpretations based on the studies from the field of population genetics. The Hindu supremacist argues that Aryans have been the original inhabitants of the country from where they spread to other parts of the World. The book by Tony Joseph, ‘Early Indians’ tells us that away from the race theory, we are all mixed up. The first inhabitants in our land were the ones who emigrated from South Asia over 60,000 years ago.

The Indo-Aryans came here nearly three thousand years ago and it was they pushed the aborigines to the forests and hills and that’s what constitutes the Adivasi community of India.

Hindu supremacists like all the supremacist-nationalists, who construct their nationalism around their religion, lay claim to be the original inhabitants of the land, and their interpretations of the past are moulded to fit that narrative. From the start, the RSS has, shunned the word Adivasi, but calls the vast numbers of our indigenous peoples, the Vanvasi. To shore up the numbers, Adivasis must be part of the Hindu fold, despite the Adivasis themselves asserting that they are not Hindus, they have beliefs and practices which are distinct and different from Hinduism, in whatever form.

To enhance its political reach from 1980s in particular, its work in Adivasi areas has intensified. While ‘Vanvasis Kalyan Ashram’, part of RSS combine which was formed much earlier, it was in the decades of 1980s that their work was jacked up by sending more Pracharaks in Adivasi areas. We have seen that in Gujarat, Dangs and nearby area, congregations of Swami Aseemanand, in MP, centered around the followers of Asaram Bapu in Jhabua and Swami Laxmananada in Orissa. They furthered the RSS agenda. They saw Christian missionaries working in the field of education and health as an obstacle to Hinduisation of Adivasis. Their propaganda against Christian missionaries led to the ghastly murder of Pastor Graham Stains. It was this propaganda which led to anti Christian violence in various forms, the most horrific being the Kandhamal violence of 2008.

In order to culturally co-opt them into the fold of Hinduism they began series of religious congregations, Kumbhs. Shabri Kumbh in Dangs and many other Adivasis predominant areas created an atmosphere of fear, Adivasis were asked to be part of it, saffron flags were distributed and they were made to put it in their houses. Two religious icons were popularized in these areas, one was Shabri and other was Hanuman. To cap it all, Ekal Vidyalayas, started spreading RSS’s interpretation of history in these areas. The other angle of the whole thing is that Adivasis are living in the areas rich in minerals, which the BJP supporter Corporate World wants to take over.

The world over aborigines live by similar traditions. They are animists and what they practice is a culture that is distinct. Many have converted to other religions out of their choice for sure, but finally in these matters what is important is their own self perception. Hemant Soren the chief minister of Jharkhand pointed out that “Adivasis are not Hindus.”

Given that, the Census Marker Column for Aboriginis (Adivasis) needs to find its place in our census forms.


Related:

Census Vs. NPR, is the GOI deliberately confusing the citizen?

Census v/s NPR

 

 

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SC: Amendment to SC/ST Act constitutionally valid

These amendments were enacted to reverse the SC judgment of 2018 which had diluted provisions of the Act

10 Feb 2020

supreme court

In 2018, Centre had made amendments to the Scheduled Castes and Scheduled Tribes (Prevention of Atrocities) Act (SC ST Act) which has now been upheld as being constitutionally valid. The bench comprising Justices Arun Mishra, Vineet Sarana and Ravindra Bhat heard the pleas against this amendment.


The amendment

The amendments stated that no preliminary inquiry would be needed to register a criminal case under the SC/ST Act. The amendment effectively ruled out any provision for anticipatory bail to persons accused of crimes against the scheduled castes and scheduled tribes. The amendment was made by the Parliament to nullify a previous Supreme Court judgment of March 20, 2018. This judgment had diluted the provisions of the SC ST Act and to correct this, the Centre was compelled to make these amendments.

A new section 18A was added by the amendment which waived off requirement of preliminary inquiry and approval before an arrest, which were conditions imposed by the 2018 Supreme Court judgement. The unconditional ban on grant of anticipatory bail has also been restored under the Act.


The pleas against the amendment

The petitions contended that the amendment was violative of Articles 14,19 and 21 as also of the basic structure and hence was liable to be struck down. The petitioners contended that the amendments were made under political pressure and the ban on anticipatory bail was arbitrary and unjust. They further argued that just because someone is born in an upper caste the law cannot presume their guilt for offences under this Act.

The Bench led by Justice Arun Mishra, however, held these amendments to be constitutionally valid.

(the story will be updated when judgment is available)


Related

Anti-Shaheen Bagh plea to be heard in SC on Monday
Did Centre direct Assam to release non-Muslims from detention centres?
EC files affidavit stating electoral bond donation details before SC
Ujjal Dosanjh raises concerns about Assam detention camps

 

SC: Amendment to SC/ST Act constitutionally valid

These amendments were enacted to reverse the SC judgment of 2018 which had diluted provisions of the Act

supreme court

In 2018, Centre had made amendments to the Scheduled Castes and Scheduled Tribes (Prevention of Atrocities) Act (SC ST Act) which has now been upheld as being constitutionally valid. The bench comprising Justices Arun Mishra, Vineet Sarana and Ravindra Bhat heard the pleas against this amendment.


The amendment

The amendments stated that no preliminary inquiry would be needed to register a criminal case under the SC/ST Act. The amendment effectively ruled out any provision for anticipatory bail to persons accused of crimes against the scheduled castes and scheduled tribes. The amendment was made by the Parliament to nullify a previous Supreme Court judgment of March 20, 2018. This judgment had diluted the provisions of the SC ST Act and to correct this, the Centre was compelled to make these amendments.

A new section 18A was added by the amendment which waived off requirement of preliminary inquiry and approval before an arrest, which were conditions imposed by the 2018 Supreme Court judgement. The unconditional ban on grant of anticipatory bail has also been restored under the Act.


The pleas against the amendment

The petitions contended that the amendment was violative of Articles 14,19 and 21 as also of the basic structure and hence was liable to be struck down. The petitioners contended that the amendments were made under political pressure and the ban on anticipatory bail was arbitrary and unjust. They further argued that just because someone is born in an upper caste the law cannot presume their guilt for offences under this Act.

The Bench led by Justice Arun Mishra, however, held these amendments to be constitutionally valid.

(the story will be updated when judgment is available)


Related

Anti-Shaheen Bagh plea to be heard in SC on Monday
Did Centre direct Assam to release non-Muslims from detention centres?
EC files affidavit stating electoral bond donation details before SC
Ujjal Dosanjh raises concerns about Assam detention camps

 

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Guru Ravidas Jayanti- The dream of Be-Gham-Pura

On the occasion of Guru Ravidas Jayanti on February 9, 2020, we remember the patron saint of the Dalit community, the man who inspired love, grace, Bhakti, and revolution.

09 Feb 2020

ravidas

Guru Ravidas ji was one of the most prominent poets of the Bhakti Movement in 15th century. Born into an Untouchable Chamar caste family, he retained his caste occupation as a cobbler and inspired social reform through his Bhakti poetry, using it as a middle path of social protest against caste-based exclusion and oppression. His protest was novel, understated, yet dangerous, as he challenged upper caste Hindus even in the way he dressed- wearing dhoti, janeu, and tilak- which were forbidden for the Untouchables.

According to the Hindu Calendar, Guru Ravidas ji was born in Govardhanpur near Varanasi, on the full moon (Purnima) of the month of Magh in the late 14th century. There is no consensus on the exact year of his birth. Even as a child, he was inclined towards Bhakti and spiritualism, but at the same time he was a firm believer in dignity of labour. As dictated by social and caste norms, the Chamar caste would work with leather and animal hide. This was considered “dirty work” as the Chamar caste would work with animal carcasses. Unfazed, Guru Ravidas ji maintained a small shop making and repairing shoes, and is said to have built an idol out of leather to pray to. 

It was this knack for subverting caste norms that placed him in a position where he was revered by people of all castes and religions, and made the upper caste enforcers of caste oppression decidedly uncomfortable and jealous.

He challenged Brahminical hegemony with his poetry and one of his most popular dohas states- 

रैदास बांभन मत पूजिए जो होवे गुन हीन.

पूजिए चरन चंडाल के जो हो ज्ञान प्रवीन.

Loosely translated, it appeals to the people to stop worshipping Brahmins who have no enlightenment/knowledge, but rather worship a Chandaal who is enlightened. In these two simple lines he questioned the entire logic of caste system and how people were treated by the virtue of the coincidence of birth rather than their intellectual abilities. 

His doha- 'रैदास जन्म के कारने होत कोई नीच, नर कूं नीच कर डारि है, ओछे करम की नीच', was a direct attack on the caste system as he expounded that no one could be born “low”, what makes anyone a lowly person are their lowly deeds. 

Guru Ravidas’s devotional songs and poems were included Guru Granth Saheb (Sikhism) and PanchVani (Dadupanthi tradition- Hinduism). In addition, hagiographers over the centuries following his death have contributed to connecting the dots of his poetry and protest, his life and legacy. 

Modern-day followers of Guru Ravidas ji are known as Ravidasias (est. 21st century) and have made a distinct cultural and religious identity with their own temples and practices. Though they revere the Guru Granth Saheb of Sikhs as it contains 40 poems by Guru Ravidas ji, Ravidasias do not consider themselves as Sikhs or Hindus, but rather a separate religion. Most of them are residents of Punjab or have migrated to countries like Canada and USA. Even today, in Punjab, the word “Ravidasi” has caste undertones and discrimination is rampant, perpetrated by both Hindus and Sikhs. The caste system is so ingrained in our history that neither logic, nor modernization, seem to shake the centuries of suppression. 

With political and communal turmoil reaching a boiling point in present day India, Guru Ravidas’s vision of an equal and just land called Be-Gham-Pura (the city without sorrows) seems like a point on the horizon- visible, yet just out of reach-

“Where there is no affliction or suffering

Neither anxiety nor fear, taxes nor capital

No menace, no terror, no humiliation…

Says Ravidas the emancipated Chamar:

One who shares with me that city is my friend.” *

 

*(This unpublished translation by Joel Lee appears in Arundhati Roy’s “The Doctor and The Saint”)

Guru Ravidas ji pictured a world free of caste oppression, of divisions, of communal hatred. This is the world we want to leave behind for our future generations. Whatever steps we take in this life, they must all lead to Be-Gham-Pura, in honour of Guru Ravidas, for the sake of humanity.

**Note: The use of the words “Chamar”, “Untouchables”, and “Untouchability” in this article is in a historical context of the self-identified terminology pertaining to the time when these events took place. 

Guru Ravidas Jayanti- The dream of Be-Gham-Pura

On the occasion of Guru Ravidas Jayanti on February 9, 2020, we remember the patron saint of the Dalit community, the man who inspired love, grace, Bhakti, and revolution.

ravidas

Guru Ravidas ji was one of the most prominent poets of the Bhakti Movement in 15th century. Born into an Untouchable Chamar caste family, he retained his caste occupation as a cobbler and inspired social reform through his Bhakti poetry, using it as a middle path of social protest against caste-based exclusion and oppression. His protest was novel, understated, yet dangerous, as he challenged upper caste Hindus even in the way he dressed- wearing dhoti, janeu, and tilak- which were forbidden for the Untouchables.

According to the Hindu Calendar, Guru Ravidas ji was born in Govardhanpur near Varanasi, on the full moon (Purnima) of the month of Magh in the late 14th century. There is no consensus on the exact year of his birth. Even as a child, he was inclined towards Bhakti and spiritualism, but at the same time he was a firm believer in dignity of labour. As dictated by social and caste norms, the Chamar caste would work with leather and animal hide. This was considered “dirty work” as the Chamar caste would work with animal carcasses. Unfazed, Guru Ravidas ji maintained a small shop making and repairing shoes, and is said to have built an idol out of leather to pray to. 

It was this knack for subverting caste norms that placed him in a position where he was revered by people of all castes and religions, and made the upper caste enforcers of caste oppression decidedly uncomfortable and jealous.

He challenged Brahminical hegemony with his poetry and one of his most popular dohas states- 

रैदास बांभन मत पूजिए जो होवे गुन हीन.

पूजिए चरन चंडाल के जो हो ज्ञान प्रवीन.

Loosely translated, it appeals to the people to stop worshipping Brahmins who have no enlightenment/knowledge, but rather worship a Chandaal who is enlightened. In these two simple lines he questioned the entire logic of caste system and how people were treated by the virtue of the coincidence of birth rather than their intellectual abilities. 

His doha- 'रैदास जन्म के कारने होत कोई नीच, नर कूं नीच कर डारि है, ओछे करम की नीच', was a direct attack on the caste system as he expounded that no one could be born “low”, what makes anyone a lowly person are their lowly deeds. 

Guru Ravidas’s devotional songs and poems were included Guru Granth Saheb (Sikhism) and PanchVani (Dadupanthi tradition- Hinduism). In addition, hagiographers over the centuries following his death have contributed to connecting the dots of his poetry and protest, his life and legacy. 

Modern-day followers of Guru Ravidas ji are known as Ravidasias (est. 21st century) and have made a distinct cultural and religious identity with their own temples and practices. Though they revere the Guru Granth Saheb of Sikhs as it contains 40 poems by Guru Ravidas ji, Ravidasias do not consider themselves as Sikhs or Hindus, but rather a separate religion. Most of them are residents of Punjab or have migrated to countries like Canada and USA. Even today, in Punjab, the word “Ravidasi” has caste undertones and discrimination is rampant, perpetrated by both Hindus and Sikhs. The caste system is so ingrained in our history that neither logic, nor modernization, seem to shake the centuries of suppression. 

With political and communal turmoil reaching a boiling point in present day India, Guru Ravidas’s vision of an equal and just land called Be-Gham-Pura (the city without sorrows) seems like a point on the horizon- visible, yet just out of reach-

“Where there is no affliction or suffering

Neither anxiety nor fear, taxes nor capital

No menace, no terror, no humiliation…

Says Ravidas the emancipated Chamar:

One who shares with me that city is my friend.” *

 

*(This unpublished translation by Joel Lee appears in Arundhati Roy’s “The Doctor and The Saint”)

Guru Ravidas ji pictured a world free of caste oppression, of divisions, of communal hatred. This is the world we want to leave behind for our future generations. Whatever steps we take in this life, they must all lead to Be-Gham-Pura, in honour of Guru Ravidas, for the sake of humanity.

**Note: The use of the words “Chamar”, “Untouchables”, and “Untouchability” in this article is in a historical context of the self-identified terminology pertaining to the time when these events took place. 

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RSS: Hindu base waned in Census 2011 because tribals registered as ‘other religion’

The RSS chief met Sangh volunteers in MP and Chhattisgarh to get to educate tribals about CAA

07 Feb 2020

Mohan Bhagwat

Apart from the Citizenship Amendment Act (CAA), the Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh (RSS) now has the Census 2021 on its agenda. At a co-ordination meet in Bhopal, the RSS’ Public Relations Head Arun Kumar said that the Sangh has received information from sources that there are some organizations working with the tribal population in India who are allegedly urging them to tick the ‘other caste / religion’ box instead of registering themselves as Hindu, Dainik Bhaskar reported.

It was reported that Arun Kumar expressed concern over the matter and said that in the population of Hindus fell from 84% in 1991 to 69% in 2011. The reason for this, he cited was that the tribals chose to not register themselves as Hindus for the same.

RSS Chief Mohan Bhagwat who was also present at the meeting said that all volunteers of the Sangh must reach out to the tribals in villages and make them aware of the situation and the falsehoods being spread about the National Population Register (NPR). In the meeting, he reportedly asked the Sangh volunteers to educate tribals and Dalits, who were being misled, and remove the impression that the CAA and NRC were against the Constitution.

Mohan Bhagwat who had embarked on a tour of Bhopal on February 3 said that the people who thought themselves to be intellectuals should be brought to the organization and be ‘disciplined’. The meeting in Bhopal, especially Bhagwat’s tour, is being seen as a strategy to counter the hostility that non-BJP ruled states have towards the CAA and NRC, reported News 18. 

The Madhya Pradesh and Chattisgarh governments have opposed the CAA and NRC. In Madhya Pradesh 700 Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) workers in Jabalpur resigned en masse from the party to register their displeasure against the CAA-NPR-NRC, reported the National Herald. Chhattisgarh’s state cabinet became the fifth state in the country to pass a resolution against the CAA, asking the Centre to repeal the draconian Act.

Chhattisgarh has a major population of people belonging to the Scheduled Castes, Scheduled Tribes and Other Backward Classes and has witnessed massive protests against the CAA and NRC because if implemented, a big chunk of the state’s population that lives below the poverty line who are illiterate and landless, will not only face difficulties in completing formalities, but will be potentially set to be left out of the citizens’ list.


Related:

Will CAA ensure land ‘invasions’ into Adivasi dominated Vth Schedule areas?
Never-the-less, she persisted: The true meaning of Mumbai Bagh
Communal Riots 2019: Communal Discourse Raging On in India

 

RSS: Hindu base waned in Census 2011 because tribals registered as ‘other religion’

The RSS chief met Sangh volunteers in MP and Chhattisgarh to get to educate tribals about CAA

Mohan Bhagwat

Apart from the Citizenship Amendment Act (CAA), the Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh (RSS) now has the Census 2021 on its agenda. At a co-ordination meet in Bhopal, the RSS’ Public Relations Head Arun Kumar said that the Sangh has received information from sources that there are some organizations working with the tribal population in India who are allegedly urging them to tick the ‘other caste / religion’ box instead of registering themselves as Hindu, Dainik Bhaskar reported.

It was reported that Arun Kumar expressed concern over the matter and said that in the population of Hindus fell from 84% in 1991 to 69% in 2011. The reason for this, he cited was that the tribals chose to not register themselves as Hindus for the same.

RSS Chief Mohan Bhagwat who was also present at the meeting said that all volunteers of the Sangh must reach out to the tribals in villages and make them aware of the situation and the falsehoods being spread about the National Population Register (NPR). In the meeting, he reportedly asked the Sangh volunteers to educate tribals and Dalits, who were being misled, and remove the impression that the CAA and NRC were against the Constitution.

Mohan Bhagwat who had embarked on a tour of Bhopal on February 3 said that the people who thought themselves to be intellectuals should be brought to the organization and be ‘disciplined’. The meeting in Bhopal, especially Bhagwat’s tour, is being seen as a strategy to counter the hostility that non-BJP ruled states have towards the CAA and NRC, reported News 18. 

The Madhya Pradesh and Chattisgarh governments have opposed the CAA and NRC. In Madhya Pradesh 700 Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) workers in Jabalpur resigned en masse from the party to register their displeasure against the CAA-NPR-NRC, reported the National Herald. Chhattisgarh’s state cabinet became the fifth state in the country to pass a resolution against the CAA, asking the Centre to repeal the draconian Act.

Chhattisgarh has a major population of people belonging to the Scheduled Castes, Scheduled Tribes and Other Backward Classes and has witnessed massive protests against the CAA and NRC because if implemented, a big chunk of the state’s population that lives below the poverty line who are illiterate and landless, will not only face difficulties in completing formalities, but will be potentially set to be left out of the citizens’ list.


Related:

Will CAA ensure land ‘invasions’ into Adivasi dominated Vth Schedule areas?
Never-the-less, she persisted: The true meaning of Mumbai Bagh
Communal Riots 2019: Communal Discourse Raging On in India

 

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Will CAA ensure land ‘invasions’ into Adivasi dominated Vth Schedule areas?

07 Feb 2020

Adivasi land

For over two months now, the controversial, Citizenship Amendment Bill (CAA) 2019 has generated widespread debate and opposition given its exclusivist character. What has received relatively less mention is the threat to the Adivasi and Forest dweller dominated Vth Schedules areas that remain unprotected under the amendment: the real threat is that “newly made citizens could be re-settled here” threatening land rights of the indigenous as also their culture and language.

An article by Gladson Dungdung writer and researcher from the Kharia community brings this out. He has dubbed it an “Invasion of Fifth Schedule Area(s).”

Paragraph 4, Section 3 of the CAA states that it will not be enforced in the Sixth Schedule Areas; this was primarily and belatedly brought in to assuage sentiments of persons in the states in the North-East. Scheduled areas are constitutionally set-up regions that were put into effect to protect Adivasis, forest dwellers and indigenous peoples. However while the Sixth Schedule Areas are protected under the CAA 2019, the Fifth Schedule areas are not.

This could mean that newly made citizens will be resettled in the Fifth Schedule Areas. In 2011, India received 5.4 million immigrants, of which Bangladeshi immigrants were the largest group, who are locally referred to as ‘intruders’ by some. If these immigrants are resettled in the Fifth Schedule Areas, Adivasis fear that territory and land resources could be contested. This possible strain on the Adivasis territory and resources, will further deepen the  livelihood crisis that they face.

Already, illegal land alienation of Adivasis is one of the major concerns for the Fifth Schedule Areas. Despite having special legislations for safeguarding the land of Adivasis, like the Chhotanagpur Tenancy Act 1908, Santal Pargana Tenancy Act 1949 and Land Revenue Code in all the Fifth Schedule states, illegal land alienation was not curbed.

According to the 2002-2003 annual report of the Ministry of Rural Development: 60,464 cases comprising 85,777.22 acres of illegally transferred tribal land were registered between 2001-2002. Out of these, 34,608 cases (comprising 46,797.36 acres) were considered for a legal hearing, while the rest of the cases were dismissed. However, after the hearing, only 21,445 cases (comprising 29,829.7 acres) were given possession to the original holders and the rest remained with non-Adivasis.

This land alienation continues unabated. Over 2,600 cases of illegal land transfers were registered in 2003-2004; over 2,650 cases in 2004-2005; over 3,200 cases in 2005-2006; over 3780 cases in 2006-2007; and over 5,380 cases in 2007-2008. This clearly indicates that cases of illegal land alienation are increasing rapidly.

It is feared by many Adivasis that the NRC/CAA will further increase the cases of land alienation, and once the ‘intruders’ are relocated in Fifth Schedule Areas, it is further feared they will start grabbing Adivasis land.                                                                                       


Demographic change

The NRC/CAA will have direct impact on the demography of Fifth Schedule Areas. If the so-called ‘intruders’ are given citizenship under the CAA and relocated to Fifth Schedule Areas, this could result in an increase of the general population and a decline of the Adivasi population, as has already been seen due to the influx of the general population caused by rapid industrialisation.

The state of Jharkhand is a crucial example to understand the demographic change caused by the influx of mainstream populations. The state was formed in 2000. In the early 1950s the tribal population of the region was 36 per cent of the total population, however by 2011 it has declined to 26.2 per cent as non-tribals moved into the state.

Similarly, before the establishment of the Tata Steel Company in 1907 in Sakchi and Kalamati, in the East Singhbhum district of Jharkhand, 95 per cent of the population in the region were Adivasis. In 2011 that population drastically decreased to only 5 per cent.[11] Almost all the Indian cities that have been developed on Adivasis land have more or less experienced the same changes.

Such demographic changes will have a direct impact on the reservation status of these protected areas. If the population of Adivasis decreases, the reserved seats for them in government jobs, the Legislative Assembly and Parliament will also decrease, effectively engineering the NRC/CAA as a tool for the extinction of the Adivasis.  


Impact on Language and culture

The NRC/CAA will also have an impact on the language and culture of the Adivasis. In the areas where Adivasis population has decreased due to industrialisation and urbanisation, Adivasis have lost their languages and culture. The Adivasis are termed as uncivilised, barbarians, backward and primitive by the general population, and at the same time, the government attempts to assimilate Adivasis through mainstreaming, which continues the process of erasing language and culture. Therefore, the fear of so-called ‘intruders’ relocated to Fifth Schedule Areas also translates into a threat to Adivasis languages and culture. 

There is no question that the NRC/CAA will have an adverse effect on the Adivasis of the Fifth Schedule Areas across 10 states in India. If the NRC/CAA is enforced nationwide, millions of Adivasis will lose their citizenship, be detained in detention camps and ‘intruders’ will be relocated to Adivasis land, impacting population, land tenure, resource management and cultural loss. This must not be allowed.

Adivasis are the first settlers of India, therefore, they must be excluded from the NRC/CAA. The civil and political rights, as well as the economic, social and cultural rights, of Adivasis, which need to be protected, are now under their gravest threat.

This is based on an article by reseatch scholar Gladson Dungdung in IWGIA a global human rights organisation dedicated to promoting, protecting and defending indigenous peoples’ rights.

 

Will CAA ensure land ‘invasions’ into Adivasi dominated Vth Schedule areas?

Adivasi land

For over two months now, the controversial, Citizenship Amendment Bill (CAA) 2019 has generated widespread debate and opposition given its exclusivist character. What has received relatively less mention is the threat to the Adivasi and Forest dweller dominated Vth Schedules areas that remain unprotected under the amendment: the real threat is that “newly made citizens could be re-settled here” threatening land rights of the indigenous as also their culture and language.

An article by Gladson Dungdung writer and researcher from the Kharia community brings this out. He has dubbed it an “Invasion of Fifth Schedule Area(s).”

Paragraph 4, Section 3 of the CAA states that it will not be enforced in the Sixth Schedule Areas; this was primarily and belatedly brought in to assuage sentiments of persons in the states in the North-East. Scheduled areas are constitutionally set-up regions that were put into effect to protect Adivasis, forest dwellers and indigenous peoples. However while the Sixth Schedule Areas are protected under the CAA 2019, the Fifth Schedule areas are not.

This could mean that newly made citizens will be resettled in the Fifth Schedule Areas. In 2011, India received 5.4 million immigrants, of which Bangladeshi immigrants were the largest group, who are locally referred to as ‘intruders’ by some. If these immigrants are resettled in the Fifth Schedule Areas, Adivasis fear that territory and land resources could be contested. This possible strain on the Adivasis territory and resources, will further deepen the  livelihood crisis that they face.

Already, illegal land alienation of Adivasis is one of the major concerns for the Fifth Schedule Areas. Despite having special legislations for safeguarding the land of Adivasis, like the Chhotanagpur Tenancy Act 1908, Santal Pargana Tenancy Act 1949 and Land Revenue Code in all the Fifth Schedule states, illegal land alienation was not curbed.

According to the 2002-2003 annual report of the Ministry of Rural Development: 60,464 cases comprising 85,777.22 acres of illegally transferred tribal land were registered between 2001-2002. Out of these, 34,608 cases (comprising 46,797.36 acres) were considered for a legal hearing, while the rest of the cases were dismissed. However, after the hearing, only 21,445 cases (comprising 29,829.7 acres) were given possession to the original holders and the rest remained with non-Adivasis.

This land alienation continues unabated. Over 2,600 cases of illegal land transfers were registered in 2003-2004; over 2,650 cases in 2004-2005; over 3,200 cases in 2005-2006; over 3780 cases in 2006-2007; and over 5,380 cases in 2007-2008. This clearly indicates that cases of illegal land alienation are increasing rapidly.

It is feared by many Adivasis that the NRC/CAA will further increase the cases of land alienation, and once the ‘intruders’ are relocated in Fifth Schedule Areas, it is further feared they will start grabbing Adivasis land.                                                                                       


Demographic change

The NRC/CAA will have direct impact on the demography of Fifth Schedule Areas. If the so-called ‘intruders’ are given citizenship under the CAA and relocated to Fifth Schedule Areas, this could result in an increase of the general population and a decline of the Adivasi population, as has already been seen due to the influx of the general population caused by rapid industrialisation.

The state of Jharkhand is a crucial example to understand the demographic change caused by the influx of mainstream populations. The state was formed in 2000. In the early 1950s the tribal population of the region was 36 per cent of the total population, however by 2011 it has declined to 26.2 per cent as non-tribals moved into the state.

Similarly, before the establishment of the Tata Steel Company in 1907 in Sakchi and Kalamati, in the East Singhbhum district of Jharkhand, 95 per cent of the population in the region were Adivasis. In 2011 that population drastically decreased to only 5 per cent.[11] Almost all the Indian cities that have been developed on Adivasis land have more or less experienced the same changes.

Such demographic changes will have a direct impact on the reservation status of these protected areas. If the population of Adivasis decreases, the reserved seats for them in government jobs, the Legislative Assembly and Parliament will also decrease, effectively engineering the NRC/CAA as a tool for the extinction of the Adivasis.  


Impact on Language and culture

The NRC/CAA will also have an impact on the language and culture of the Adivasis. In the areas where Adivasis population has decreased due to industrialisation and urbanisation, Adivasis have lost their languages and culture. The Adivasis are termed as uncivilised, barbarians, backward and primitive by the general population, and at the same time, the government attempts to assimilate Adivasis through mainstreaming, which continues the process of erasing language and culture. Therefore, the fear of so-called ‘intruders’ relocated to Fifth Schedule Areas also translates into a threat to Adivasis languages and culture. 

There is no question that the NRC/CAA will have an adverse effect on the Adivasis of the Fifth Schedule Areas across 10 states in India. If the NRC/CAA is enforced nationwide, millions of Adivasis will lose their citizenship, be detained in detention camps and ‘intruders’ will be relocated to Adivasis land, impacting population, land tenure, resource management and cultural loss. This must not be allowed.

Adivasis are the first settlers of India, therefore, they must be excluded from the NRC/CAA. The civil and political rights, as well as the economic, social and cultural rights, of Adivasis, which need to be protected, are now under their gravest threat.

This is based on an article by reseatch scholar Gladson Dungdung in IWGIA a global human rights organisation dedicated to promoting, protecting and defending indigenous peoples’ rights.

 

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