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Monday, December 21, 2009

Discrimination in Reservation!Twenty Five Lacs of Adivasi People Belonging to Ghtawar Tribe Tribe in JHARKHAND are DEPRIVED of RESERVATION! Twenty Million Partition Victim Bengali Resettled Refugees also DEPRIVED and Persecuted!

Discrimination in Reservation!Twenty Five Lacs of Adivasi  People Belonging to Ghtawar Tribe Tribe in JHARKHAND are DEPRIVED of RESERVATION! Twenty Million Partition Victim Bengali Resettled Refugees also DEPRIVED and Persecuted!

Indian Holocaust My Father`s life and Time- Two Hundred Fifty Three

Palash Biswas

Let me Clarify that, though as a communist believing in Classless Society I Never believe in Resrvation and My People the Black Untouchable Bengali refugees out of Bengal specially in Uttarakhand, Uttar Pradesh and Chhattishgarh are deprived of Reservation, I am not OPPOSED to RESERVATION in principle. My father was a Communist Ambedkarite and pressed on the demand for all Refugees belonging to any Community should have RESERVATION as they fall backward from the very moment while they are ejected out of their Home! I NEVER believed that RESERVATION would EMPOWER the Enslaved bonded Communities in the zionst Brahaminical System and in fact, it helps the HEGEMONY to CO Opt a few to DEPRIVE the Rest. I support th basuic idea of reservation as REPRESENTATION and Awakening to make possible equal opportunity and Social Justice.

But I am Concerned with the fact that RESERVATION is killing the Ambedkarite Ideology as well as National Liberation struggle for the indigenous and aboriginal Communities as RESRVATION has DIVIDED us most after MANUSMRITI. We faight amongst us and are not Ready to share the OPPORTUNITY with orthers who even lag behind us. It has become the best ploy for Vote bank Politics and demographic Readjustment as a Pure Brahamin like Mamata Banerjee takes oath to worship only Harichand Thakur to get the legacy of chandal Movement and dalit Renaissance in her favour keeping INTACT herBrahaminical Identity. Reseravtion has become a means of EXPLOITATION most heinious. It has created more violence, more Hatred than Manusmriti as the Ruling Calss manipulated our Mind and heart to pit us against one another. It has become a JOKE as Powerful Communities DEVELOPED and affluent are also demanding Reservation. Even the Brahamins. Jats in Uttar Pradesh, Marathas in Maharashtra and Mahishwas in Bengal had always enjoyed caste Hindu status and deprived the Dalits powerfully. Now, they want reservation.

Contrarily Twenty Five Lac Ghtwar Tribe people in Jharkhand fail to achieve Reservation in Jharkhand. Santhals in Assam and Bheels in RESERVATION are not considered for Reservations. More than Two Milion bengali SC People resettled as Partition Victims countrywide could not achieve reseravation for last SIX decades!

Despite Reseravation, Community Empowerment is Hundreds of years behind just because the educated People RESERVATION and Quota do not Identify with their Mother communities and even DISOWN their Parents. They would not REPRESENT noPay back either to the family or society to which they root.

Hence, I am sorry to opine , BETTER, ABOLISH Reservation.

Those Tribes who got Resrevation as well as Separate States in different part of this country, have not rose above the level they belonged to. The Persecution and Ethnic Cleansing Conitinue. Rather, they have been ALIENATED and Branded being DEMONISED as Extremists and Maoists. NO AVTAR is going to figh for them and they are predestined to be killed sooner or later!

As Tharus and Bukshas in Uttarakhand, many Tribes speilly the Nomadic and denotified Tribes have no right to Property or Land. Their villages are not Revenue Villages. Though entitled as Scheduled tribes they have got Nothing out of Reseravation and Quota!

Reservation was basically meant for the untouchables, deprived, slaves and outcasted communities of the society. People of this community have sufferred hatred and beastly atrocities for more than thousands of years. They were/are the weekest sections of the socity. Muslims were the Rulers of this nation. Today also there are several business houses/individuals who are ranked as richest at international level. When the community is placed at high dignity, it is not understood why they need reservation. By seeking reservation are the muslims not depriving the deprived ones. If they have to be considered for reservation on what ground as ex-rulers. Today every community is seeking reservation. It shows that caste factor has not washed away as yet from the minds of the people, as by this every one is trying to take away the little opportunity of servival/existance in the society got to these unfortunate people through reservation and see them as deprived so that they can be behaved at beastly again.

After Punjabis, Jats, Brahmins demand quota
Rajendra Khatry
Posted: Jul 15, 2008 at 2346 hrs IST

Chandigarh, July 14 Perked up by the Gujjar agitation in Rajasthan, which forced the government to bow down to the demand of reservation, many communities in the state have now begun raising demand for reservation in government jobs. Surprisingly, those making such demands are from well off communities such as Jats, Punjabis, Brahmins.

Jat Arakshan Sangharsh Samiti has threatened to campaign against the Congress party in the forthcoming Lok Sabha polls if they did not ensure reservation for the community. While the Jats have been demanding their inclusion in the Other Backward Class (OBC) category, Punjabis have demanded reservation on the basis of their large population in Haryana. The Brahmins on the other hand are demanding reservation on the economic criteria.They have called a Mahapanchayat at Rohtak on July 25 to decide the future course of action on the issue.

Jats are demanding reservation on the basis of the Justice Gurnam Singh Commission report which had recommended inclusion of Jats in backward community, according to the sources. D.S.Tewatia, president of Jat Arakshan Sangharsh Samiti said if their demand of 27 pc reservation was not met soon, the community will be forced to launch agitation in the state. Incidentally, Jats have been given reservation in six neighbouring states of Rajasthan, Delhi, Himachal Pradesh,UP and MP.

The Jat Arakshan Sangharsh Samiti has also announced a Mahapanchayat of Jats on September 21 at Rohtak to discuss the issue. The Samiti has threatened to organise a state bandh on Haryana Day on November 1.

The Punjabis too have raised the demand for reservation. Haryana Urban Local Bodies Minister, A.C.Choudhary demanded that freedom fighter status should be given to migrated Punjabis for their sacrifices during the independence struggle. The Akhil Bhartiya Brahmin Mahasabha has raised the reservation demand on behalf of the community.

 Muslim leaders from across the country and heads of some political parties shared the dais of the newly formed Muttahida Milli Mahaz group in Patna on November 11 to reiterate the demand of reservation for the Muslim community and full implementation of the Rajendra Sachar Committee recommendations.

Thousands of Muslims had thronged the Krishna Memorial Hall in the capital city of Patna to attend the Insaf Rally organized by the Mahaz.

Reservation in India
From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

Reservation in Indian law provides for a quota system whereby a percentage of posts are reserved in employment in Government and in the public sector units, and in all public and private educational institutions, except in the religious/ linguistic minority educational institutions,in order to mitigate backwardness of the socially and educationally backward communities and the Scheduled Castes and Tribes who do not have adequate representation in these services and institutions. The reservation policy is also extended to the Scheduled Castes and Scheduled Tribes for representation in the Parliament of India. The central government of India reserves 27% of higher education[1], and individual states may legislate further reservations. Reservation cannot be exceeded 50%, as per the rulings given by the supreme court[2], but certain Indian states like Rajasthan have proposed a 68 % reservation which includes a 14% reservation for forward castes.[3] A number of cases challenging the validity of such reservations provided by the states pending before the apex court.
Caste and community profile of people below the poverty line in India, as outlined in the Sachar Report

Reservations are intended to increase the social diversity in campuses and workplaces by lowering the entry criteria for certain identifiable groups that are grossly under-represented in proportion to their numbers in the general population. Caste is the most used criteria to identify under-represented groups. However there are other identifiable criteria for under-representation—gender (women are under represented), state of domicile (North Eastern States, as Bihar and Uttar Pradesh are under-represented), rural people, etc. -- as revealed by the Government of India sponsored National Family Health and National Sample surveys.

The underlying theory is that the under-representation of the identifiable groups is a legacy of the Indian caste system. After India gained independence, the Constitution of India listed some erstwhile groups as Scheduled Castes (SC) and Scheduled Tribes (ST). The framers of the Constitution believed that, due to the caste system, SCs and the STs were historically oppressed and denied respect and equal opportunity in Indian society and were thus under-represented in nation-building activities. The Constitution laid down 15% and 7.5% of vacancies to government aided educational institutes and for jobs in the government/public sector, as reserved quota for the SC and ST candidates respectively for a period of five years, after which the situation was to be reviewed. This period was routinely extended by the succeeding governments.

Later, reservations were introduced for other sections as well. The Supreme Court ruling that reservations cannot exceed 50% (which it judged would violate equal access guaranteed by the Constitution) has put a cap on reservations. However, there are state laws that exceed this 50% limit and these are under litigation in the Supreme Court. For example, the caste-based reservation fraction stands at 69% and is applicable to about 87% of the population in the state of Tamil Nadu (see section on Tamil Nadu below).

 Justice A.J. Sadashiva, who heads the commission reviewing the reservation system as well as the various welfare schemes announced by the Government for the Scheduled Castes and Scheduled Tribes, has said in Bellary, Karnatak in february, 2007 that a caste-wise survey will be conducted to determine the extent to which these classes were actually being benefited.

Mr. Sadashiva told presspersons  such a survey had become inevitable, and a report would also be submitted to the Government. The survey was expected to begin by

March-end. He said a questionnaire had been prepared to elicit information in different categories, including caste and sub-caste, living conditions, education and economic conditions.

In Uttarkhand, Under the leadership of Bajpur MLA Arvind Pandey, a delegation of the Sikh community from Udham Singh Nagar district in July this year, met Chief Minister Dr Ramesh Pokhriyal Nishank and demanded that Jat Sikhs should be given backward class reservation in Uttarakhand.In a memorandum submitted to the Chief Minister, the Sikhs demanded that even in Uttar Pradesh backward class reservation was being given to Jat Sikhs.

"Some people in Uttarakhand are opposing this but we request you to look into the matter and ensure that such reservation is given to Jat Sikhs," the memorandum read.

In Maharashtra,the Maratha community recently upped the ante on the reservation issue, demanding 25% quota in all walks of life. At a rally held at Shivaji Park on second February this year , over 25,000 people from the community gathered to vociferously demand reservation, and warned, if not adhered to, will lead to an agitation across the state.Though Marathas have traditionally played lead roles in Maharashtra politics -- much to the chagrin of all other communities, the community have in recent times kept at it aggressively to get a share in the reservation pie. NCP leader and deputy chief minister Chhagan Bhujbal, self-styled as the OBC leader in the state, has time and again warned against dilution of any reservation to the Marathas at the cost of the "oppressed communities like OBCs and SC/STs". In fact, the demand comes a day after OBC leaders from the state warned of a fiery agitation if Marathas were awarded reservation.

Former NCP MLA Vinayak Mete, who was suspended from the party after an attack allegedly led by him on an editor of a Marathi daily, presided over the Maratha rally. He set a deadline of a month to fulfil the demand. "Reservation is our right. Do not test our patience. We should get the reservation before the Lok Sabha elections at any cost," he said.

"The government has so far appointed nine commissions to decide the social status of Marathas. All these commissions have meted out injustice to the Marathas," he said.

The OBC leaders have opposed reservation to Marathas in politics as they already possess key positions in the politics. "We are not against the reservation in education and jobs, but we will not bear reservation in politics," BJP leader Gopinath Munde said.
RPI leader Prakash Ambedkaradvised the government not to take any decision on the issue in a hurry.

In Kerala, Demanding reservation for the whole nadar community, Malankara Arch Bishop Baselios Mar Cleemis.met Chief Minister VS Achuthanandan today at his official residence in Cliff house.

He also submitted a memorandum signed by one lakh people requesting the reservation to be extended to the whole community to Chief Minister.

After the 20 minute brief talks, the Arch Bishop said, he expects Chief Minister to take a favourable decision regarding the issue, since, the matter lies in the purview of central government some other aspects of the issue also needed close study.

Last Sunday, the church had asked its devotees to observe a protest day and pastoral letters were read at churches against the government's move to issue reservation to two communities.

Dozens of lawyers in Patna in january this year demonstrated outside the Patna High Court to press for their two-point demand including reservation in the judiciary and a ban on the age limit for applying for the post of magistrate.

Organized under the banner of 'Judiciary Reservation Movement' the lawyers took out a rally from the western gate of the Patna High Court and marched towards the Chief Minister's residence. They were, however, stopped by the security officials at the Hartali Chowk where the rally took the shape of a public meeting.

The movement's national president Arun Kushwaha said that until reservations were made in the judiciary, justice could not be served to people of the backward sections of the society.

He also demanded a ban on the current age limit of 35 to become a magistrate saying it was a deterrent to many deserving candidates belonging to backward and dalit communities.

Justice M. L. Das who supports reservation in judiciary also took party in Tuesday's rally.

Gujjars demand reservations in Central jobs

Updated on Friday, December 15, 2006, 00:00 IST
New Delhi, Dec 15: Reservation in Central jobs and commissioning of a regiment in the Army are some of the demands that the Gujjar community will make in a show of strength rally which is being organised here on December 17.

The rally is being organised keeping an eye on the upcoming UP elections. Gujjar strongman and Congress MP from Faridabad Avtar Singh Bhadana said Gujjars despire being more backward than many other communities were being overlooked by state and Central governments.

"To uplift the community from its backwardness we demand OBC quota in Central jobs and educational institutions and a Gujjar regiment in the Army to better reflect the sacrifices made by the community over the years" Bhadana told reporters here.

Other demands of the community include better representation in the Parliament and OBC quota for the community in Rajasthan and MP.

"Gujjars play a decisive role in as many as 45 Lok Sabha seats and many assembly seats as well but we have only two MPs in the Lok Sabha and this number needs to increase," he said.

The community which is considered as the vote bank of the Congress will give a referendum to the Congress president Sonia Gandhi after the rally, which is being organised at the Commonwealth Games grounds here.

Demand for internal reservation

Staff Correspondent

BELLARY: Representatives of the Madiga and Cheluvadi communities of the Scheduled Castes (SC) and Scheduled Tribes (ST) who appeared before the A.J. Sadashiva Commission here on Wednesday urged the Government to provide internal reservation as this, they said, would ensure that the benefits of welfare schemes reached the needy.

Representatives of the Madiga community told the chairman of the commission that the benefits of reservation and of welfare schemes were reaching only a few groups among the SCs and STs, and their community was the worst affected as a result.

"The Madigas constitute a large section of the district's population and about 70 per cent of the Scheduled Castes," Chairman of the Bellary Milk Producers' Union H. Hanumanthappa said. "Yet, they remain suppressed as the benefits of reservation do not reach them. As a result, they have remained socially, economically and educationally backward. Therefore, the Government should provide for internal reservation."

Jats demand reservation; to hold massive rally in Meerut

New Delhi, Feb 6 Asking for uniform reservation norms, Jats have demanded that their community be granted Other Backward Class (OBC) status in all states across the country.
"Jat Community fits well in the criteria fixed by' Mandal Commission', so it should be included in the OBC category of the Union List as well as in the State List of those states where they have not been included," Chaudhary Dara Singh, president of Akhil Bharatiya Jat Mahasabha said here today.

Jats, from 13 states will gather at Meerut in Uttar Pradesh, for a massive rally in support of their demands on Sunday, Singh said.

At Central level, Jats have been given reservation in Rajasthan while at state level in Uttar Pradesh, Delhi, Madhya Pradesh and Himachal Pradesh, but they are deprived of reservation in Haryana, Punjab, Andhra Pradesh, Bihar, Jammu and Kashmir and others, he added.

" Every caste or tribe is enjoying reservations uniformly across the nation but the Jats have been intentionally deprived of this status," Singh said.

The Jats demanded reservation on economic ground, claiming 95 per cent of the community members were dependent on agriculture and not doing well enough to provide education to their children.

`Samajwadi Party favours reservation for women from deprived communities'

Staff Correspondent

The party is prepared for mid-term polls, says Bangarappa

BIDAR: "We are not opposed to reservation for women in Parliament. We are only demanding reservation for women from deprived communities and backward classes within the quota to be fixed for women," former Chief Minister, MP and Samajwadi Party State president S. Bangarappa said here on Thursday. He was reacting to All-India Congress Committee president Sonia Gandhi's allegation that men MPs were opposing the move to provide reservation to women. He said Ms. Gandhi's statement was not true. "We want more focused social justice than the proposed bill offers," he told presspersons.

Mr. Bangarappa said the Janata Dal (Secular)-Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) coalition Government would not last.

"If the bypoll to the Chamundeshwari Assembly seat is postponed, then it may be held along with the mid-term election," he said.

The Samajwadi Party was preparing for the mid-term poll, Mr. Bangarappa said. "I am touring the State and organising processions and public meetings. We have had a very good response in all districts.

This was a reflection of how the Congress, Janata Dal (S) and BJP have lost the confidence of the people, he said. "The coalition Government has failed on all counts. The people are fed up with the Government," he said.

Demand for reservation, political blackmailing?
P B Chandra, TNN 4 April 2003, 04:36am IST

The scene: A man dressed as Lord Parshuram appears on the dais displaying his angry

The venue: The reservation rally organised by Brahmins at Jaipur.

The Brahmins call themselves the sons of Lord Parshuram, who could shake the universe with his anger. The person impersonating as Lord Parshuram was symbolic of the Brahmin unity.

The Brahmins, like Jats, have started thinking that might is right and are of the belief that unless the community compels the political parties, they would never get the coveted reservation.

The demands of not only the Brahmins, but other communities as well for reservation are nothing less than political blackmailing.

The rally which was funded by industrialist R.D.Sharma, itself was lacklustre with a meagre presence of less than 10,000 persons. But the earlier rally organised at Sikar and Bikaner was very well attended.

The Brahmins who alongwith the Baniya community have been principal backers of the BJP are now demanding their pound of flesh. They have pressed home the point that poor Brahmins should also get reservation.

The Gujjar community which enjoys the status of the "Other Backward Classes" has gone a step further and have demanded the status of Scheduled Tribe. They feel that because of the presence of one particular community in the OBC list, they would never be able to reap the benefits of reservation if they remain a part of OBC.

Social Justice Front which has been launched by BJP MLA Devi Singh Bhati, firebrand leader Lokendra Singh Kalvi and former bureaucrat Satyanarayan Singh have identified Rajputs, Vaishyas, Sindhis, Kayasthas, Jatsikhs and Rajpurohits for providing them redressals. It is a demand for reservation for all those communities which have been ignored until now.

The Social Justice Front has started a movement to counter the impact of reservation given to the Other Backward Classes by the Gehlot government. The movement is basically targetting the Jats, the new beneficiaries who are called new OBCs.

"We are demanding reservations on the basis of poor economic conditions for all those castes which were left out when new castes were included under the OBC, " says Satyanarayan Singh.

Kalvi lamented that under the garb of poor peasants, rich farmers managed to get reservations while those who were really poor were left out.

Kalvi's grouse is against the rising influence of the Jat community and he has enough evidence to prove that the Jat community cornered most of the posts which were reserved for the OBCs in the Panchayat Raj elections.

"All other castes which could have been benefitted under the reservations are now forced to become backbenchers because of the domination of one caste in the OBC category. It's a very dangerous situation and may result in class conflict," says Kalvi.

He said under the name of poor farmers, while Jats were given the benefits, poor farmers belonging to Rajput, Brahmin, Kayastha, Rajpurohit were left behind.

He said the Rajputs were in the forefront during the freedom movement and fought not only the Moghuls, but also the British, yet the poor community was left behind.

He said states like Andhra Pradesh, Tamil Nadu, Bihar, Haryana, Karnataka have identified OBCs under two categories. One category is of the backward people and the other economically very backward castes.

He demanded the same formula to be adopted in the state and very backward castes be covered under the new provisions.

What prompted Mayawati to play the Dalit card and support justice Dinakaran?
Sunday, December 20, 2009 19:08 IST

Uttar Pradesh chief minister Mayawati wrote a letter to prime minister Manmohan Singh on December 20, seeking his intervention to ensure Karnataka high court chief justice PD Dinakaran gets an opportunity to present his point of view before impeachment proceedings begin against him. Many Congress Dalit leaders have also expressed support for him, as has the BJP.Justice Dinakaran, who faces charges of amassing disproportionate assets and land grabbing, faces an impeachment motion admitted against him in the Rajya Sabha.

Usually, when a person in high office is charged with corruption, public figures, particularly politicians, distance themselves in a bid to escape the negative fallout.

However, Dinakaran's case is made unique by the fact that he is a judge -- in India the judiciary is considered the most sacrosanct of institutions -- and a Dalit.

Is Mayawati interested in Dinakaran only as a fellow Dalit? Is there more to this than meets the eye?

Do smaller states help in the all-round progress of backward regions?
Wednesday, December 16, 2009 0:55 IST

The announcement of a separate Telangana state has set off a political storm, what with demands for states such as Gorkhaland, Poorvanchal, Bundelkhand, Vidarbha and Harit Pradesh, among others, being raised in different parts of the country.

Though states such as Maharashtra, Kerala, Orissa, Gujarat, Tamil Nadu, and West Bengal were created on the basis of language, the demands for newer states such as Uttarakhand, Chhattisgarh, and Jharkhand have been based on the basis of neglect of the regions concerned.

Some experts say smaller states are easier to govern, but smaller size by itself is no surefire formula for good governance, economic performance, and welfare of the people. For example, despite being a small state, Jharkhand has not conducted panchayat elections in the past 10 years. As a result, it has been deprived of several central benefits. At the same time, states such as Goa, Kerala, and Himachal Pradesh have been successes.

Reservation in the private sector

By Gail Omvedt

WITH QUOTAS declared for Jats in Rajasthan and with controversy about some recent Supreme Court decisions, the issue of reservation has again come to the forefront. Probably, though, nothing is as controversial as the whole question of private sector reservation. Here, on the one hand many Dalit leaders have been led to oppose ``liberalisation and privatisation'' in the belief that the public sector is their main road to economic and political empowerment. And, on the other, those who recognise change as inevitable are now demanding, as Maharashtra's RPI leader and MP, Mr. Ramdas Athavale, recently did at a large rally, ``reservation in the private sector''. The issue, however, is not a simple one.

There are, in fact, four rather different ways that oppressed communities - such as blacks (African-Americans) in the U.S. and Dalits in India - have organised against the exploitation they have endured for centuries. One is as political communities demanding ``compensatory discrimination'' programmes from the State which in this respect is taken as representing the ``whole people''. (Reservation in India, ``affirmative action'' programmes in the U.S. and special subsidies and grants in both countries are the important examples). The second is as political communities, mobilising to achieve political power directly through the force of their votes and the alliances they are able to make. (The BSP in India and the large number of black large city mayors in the U.S. provide noteworthy examples). The third is as cultural communities seeking to confront and change the internalised ``cultural'' characteristics that result from their centuries of oppression but hamper their movement forward in the present. (The best example here was the ``million man march'' organised some years ago in Washington D.C. by the black Muslim leader, Mr. Louis Farakhan, which was aimed at restoring the dignity and the family and community position of black men). And the fourth is as economic communities exerting pressure on companies or institutions, both to employ more of their community and to produce the kind of products suitable to their needs.

The question of ``reservation in the private sector'' has to do not only with the first method - pressure on Central Governments - but also with the fourth method - direct economic pressure on corporations and institutions. This has to be understood in order for the whole issue to be seriously debated. While some believe that ``reservation in the private sector is impossible'', this is simply wrong. Most ``affirmative action'' programmes in the U.S. in fact work in the private sector. One basic reason is that there is no simplified division between public and private. Any sector that is regulated and/ or funded by the Government is open to Government directives. In the U.S., to take a specific example, colleges and universities are all by Indian standards ``private'' since they are not directly controlled by the Government; they raise their own budgets, charge student fees, make their own decisions, appoint their own teachers, and so on. Yet, because they get some Government aid and are subject to Government regulation, ``affirmative action'' programmes can operate: if they do not fulfil the criteria, the Government aid will be withdrawn.

This, however, takes place in a much more flexible and less rigid situation than in India. There would be no question, for example, of automatic promotion for holders of reserved posts in the U.S. - there are no specific posts earmarked for minorities, and there is no such thing as automatic promotion.

Instead, ``affirmative action'' means that a certain proportion of black (or other minority) people are supposed to be there. Since people who have grown up with the Indian system find it hard to believe that such a system can work, it might be suggested here that the American Government fund some specific studies by a combined Indian-American team of largely Dalits and blacks, to genuinely compare reservation systems. What comparative work has been done so far has been either by American scholars or upper-caste Indian scholars.

The second factor is that the growth of minority (in this case Dalit or black) representation in private sector institutions can be compelled not simply by Government action but by direct economic or political pressure. Some examples easily come to mind. Why does the U.S. Supreme Court now have black judges? Not because it has ``reserved posts'' of any kind, but simply because the President has found it politically necessary or expedient to appoint at least some minorities. This is political pressure similar to that which produces Ministries in India through an informal ``quota system'' that has to accommodate not only representatives of all political parties and of all regions or States, but also of different castes and communities!

Why is it that media in the U.S. has, in contrast to India today, so many black faces? The difference at this point seems, at least to me, to be dramatic. Today it is a black woman, Oprah Winfrey, who is the highest earning TV personality, with $1 million a hour being her most recently reported rate. It is not simply a matter of a new ``stars'' either. There are many prime-time serials in the U.S. which focus on blacks or other minorities, or even working class families (Indians may find this hard to believe because those serials shown here are normally the upper-class ones such as Dynasty and Santa Barbara; but neither has been as long-lasting in the U.S. itself as the Bill Cosby show). In contrast, serials especially on Hindi channels almost invariably focus on upper class families living in double-storey houses which hardly one per cent of the Indian population can afford, not to mention the light-skinned stars. In the U.S. newscasters (formerly called ``anchormen'') now include women and minorities in a way dramatically different from 10 to 20 years earlier; in India while women are quite decently represented, both women and men are obviously overwhelming upper-caste.

What is the reason for the difference? How has the black media presence increased in the U.S.? Not through demands for ``reserved posts'' for stars of talk shows or newscasters, but largely through community-based economic pressure. Blacks and other minorities now constitute not only a large proportion of the U.S. population, but minorities that have become conscious of their economic needs. It is not only ``Buy American'' that has been a slogan in the U.S.; there have also been decades of promotion of what is sometimes called ``black capitalism.'' Blacks, Chinese-Americans, Indian-Americans, Hispanic Americans and others are by now quite conscious of their own rights, needs, and specific culture. They will watch television shows to which they can relate, and they will buy the products advertised on those shows. They will also tend to buy from companies which they know employ their own people, and produce products that they see as relevant to them.

So far little of this has happened in India. Dalits are not an insignificant minority, and while poor, with an increasing employed section that has some economic clout - which would be even more if they were united and conscious. With Bahujans they constitute a majority. Yet this majority still seems willing to accept upper caste standards, including light skins, and upper caste dominance on the media. Or have the Indian companies and media producers as yet simply not found a way to tap this market?

In any case, Dalit leaders such as Mr. Ramdas Athavale would do well to consider how community pressures can be built up to act upon the private sector, and not simply make rhetorical and politically ineffective demands for reservation. And conversely, those who feel that the whole reservation system is ``lumpenising government'' or fear that it may ``tear India's polity apart'' should direct their energies towards reforming the system, rather than simply denying just demands. Because, whatever way it comes, the demand for empowerment of previously suppressed majorities will not be halted.

 The Demand of Dalit Christian Reservation needs People Movement
Madhu Chandra

New Delhi, November 16, 2006

The space between Indian haves and have-nots is becoming very fast widening year after year. This makes rich richer and poor poorer. How can India ever become developed country when millions of Indians live under poverty line?

Reservation provided in Indian constitution, although hated by general and upper caste community, does help narrowing down the space between Indian haves and have-nots. However after the episode of OBC 27% Quota in Professional Educational Institutions introduced by Union Human Resource Development Minister, Mr. Arjun Singh some time early of this year, a campaign to snatch away the reservation provision of Scheduled Caste and Scheduled Tribes (SC/ST) began even by Supreme Court of Indian by introducing Creamy Layer propaganda. In Creamy layer proposed by Supreme Court of India, under different categorical heading, sons and daughters of whose parents' annually income exceed Rs One Lakh (one hundred thousand rupees) with possession of wealth limit prescribed by Indian Wealth Act for consecutive three years, will be listed in creamy layer, who although being low caste and socially look down, will not eligible to enjoy job and educational reservation.

Dalit Sikh and Buddhist Reservation after years of Discrimination In Presidential Order list of SC/ST 1950, only the Dalit Hindu members were listed in SC/ST categories while leaving all other religions different from Hinduism. Dalit Sikh is one of the most organized SC communities in India who with political power fought back to be listed in Presidential Order. After 6 years denial of their birth and constitutional rights, Dalit Sikh got their statutory and beneficiaries of SC when Article 341 Para 3 amended in 1956 by including Dalit Sikh in the Presidential Order.

Dalit Buddhist got their birth and constitutional rights after 40 years of struggle in amendment of Article 341 Para 3 in 1990. Forty years of denial was more than enough to keep Dalit Buddhism socially economically and educationally backward. They will struggle to over come the forty years of damage done to them.

Dalit Christian Need to Learn People Power Dalit origins converted to Christianity are denied from the SC/ST list from colonial period but their struggle to be listed under Presidential Order 1950 has been from the time India got Independent. Commissions after Commissions were setup and almost approved to include all the members of Dalits without any religions and faith.

At last the ball has been thrown at vineyard of Supreme Court of India, which has been postponing, seems like done desperately. Supreme Court's direction to study the socio-economic and educational condition of Dalit Christians to National Commission for Religious and Minority (NCRL) headed by Ranganathan Misra â€" former Chief Justice of Supreme Court of India, seems only to get feed back from Saffron brigade's rejection of Dalit Christian demand.

Religious discrimination in the country like India is very true and visible in its history. The demand for birth and constitutional rights of Dalit origins who once were entitled and enjoyed SC/ST Provision has been denied from the movement he/she changed his/her faith other than Hindu, Sikh and Buddhist.

Dr. John Dayal, Member of National Integration Council, President of All India Catholic Union and General Secretary of All India Christian Council reminded the people movement in Dalit Buddhist reservation struggle. He writes, Lest we forget - when neo-Buddhists wanted the right of reservation in government jobs after their Conversion to Buddhism, the late P.N.

Rajhbhoj, Member of Parliament from Pune went to eminent jurist Nani Palkhiwala, in his time one of the most sought after lawyers in the Supreme Court, to take up their case. He famously told the Dalit leaders "Bring 10 Lakh Dalit outside the Supreme Court when the case comes up, and I will get you your reservation back" Today Dalit Buddhist has SC/ST status and benefits after forty years of struggle. Christian churches and leaders need to learn from them.

2006 Winter Parliament Session will be important as per as reservation either be it of Dalit Christians or SC/ST in Private sector. A Mass Protest during Parliament session on and before Supreme Court hearing of Dalit Christian reservation scheduled in April 2007 is a must needed.

Dalit Christian Reservation is much more than just Job and Educational Reservation Being and born as a Dalit does not change his/her caste discrimination even after converting to any religion. Dalits in all religions suffer caste discrimination inside and outside of Hinduism. Demanding inclusion of Dalit Christians in SC status is much
more than just job and educational reservation. It is demand of SC status and beneficiaries, which includes all constitutional provisions of SC communities.

Dalits other than the members of Hinduism, Sikhism and Buddhism do not have title to enjoy SC/ST Atrocity Prevention Act 1989 (Amendment 1995). Once Dalit Christians are listed in Presidential Order List 1950 by amendment of Article 341 Para 3, SC/ST Atrocities Prevention Act will be applicable to the members of Dalit origins even converted to Christianity.

Dalits suffer caste discrimination and their denial to be listed in Presidential Order SC/ST List 1950 after converting to Christianity is double discrimination. Their demand to entitle SC/ST statutory and Beneficiary is their birth and constitutional rights.

Madhu Chandra

www.madhuchandra. org

Why Mayawati is so keen to divide UP

Lucknow What looks like Uttar Pradesh Chief Minister Mayawati's wild card might turn out be her trump card. The Telangana heat has enabled her to grab a chance to score political points against her main political adversaries in UP. In one stroke she has countered AICC general secretary Rahul Gandhi, Samajwadi Party chief Mulayam Singh Yadav and RLD president Ajit Singh by supporting the demands of separate states in UP.

The situation that emerged out of her vocal demands for the separate states has left rival parties in a quandary — while the Congress has few options than reiterating its stand in favour of the creation of smaller states, SP chief Mulayam Singh cannot go beyond a certain limit to oppose Mayawati's demands despite his party's clear stand against the division of UP. The BJP is apparently in a state of confusion over her demands for the separate states in UP because of the party's stand against further division of Madhya Pradesh to pave the way for Bundelkhand.

What is important is that Mayawati's name never prominently figured with the demands for the creation of smaller states before her victory in the 2007 Assembly elections. "But she never opposed such demands and remained a silent supporter of smaller states," recalled RLD MLA Kokab Hamid who had moved a resolution in the Assembly seeking the creation of Harit Pradesh about six years ago.

After the formation of her current government, Mayawati spoke in favour of the division of UP into smaller states. In October 2007, she had publicly supported the demand for the creation of Purvanchal and even tried to make it an election plank during her campaign in the last Lok Sabha elections.

BSP leaders have several justifications for Mayawati's support for the creation of smaller states. "She is known for creating small districts and tehsils. So one can understand her sentiment for the creation of smaller states," felt one BSP MLA.

As things stand today, Mayawati has nothing to lose in this political game. "Her actual stand over the division of the state would be known in the coming Assembly session," said an MLA representing an Assembly constituency in eastern UP. According to him, if Mayawati allows debate over the creation of new states in the House, it means she is serious about the issue.

Incidentally, it's not the BSP that took the initiative in raising the issue of separate states in the Assembly. "I, along with Union minister Pradeep Aditya Jain who was then MLA from Jhansi had requested the Speaker to take up the matter of the creation of Bundelkhand under Rule 109. The debate over this issue is still pending. If the CM really wants to see a separate Bundelkhand, she should get the resolution passed in both Houses of the state," said Congress MLA Vivek Singh, who represents Banda Assembly seat.

Similarly, it was Congress MLA from Naugarh, Ishwar Chandra Shukla, who moved a resolution seeking creation of a separate Purvanchal. "Her support for Purvanchal is nothing but a political stunt. I had moved the resolution in the last session of the Assembly in 2007. I had included 27 districts of eastern UP for creating Purvanchal," said Shukla.

UPCC spokesperson Subodh Srivastava also rejected Mayawati's demands for carving out smaller states in UP. "Had she seriously taken up the issue in 2007, the resolution for the division of the state would have been passed in the House," he said.

Sources in the BSP said Mayawati stands a good chance to woo the traditional SP voters of eastern UP in the name of a separate Purvanchal. "If the Samajwadi Party's base shrinks in eastern UP, it would be a benefit of the BSP. The Congress is gradually restoring its base in this area. In the last Lok Sabha election, major success came for the Congress from eastern UP," reasoned one BSP source. As per the BSP's assessment, the SP has no base in Jat-dominated western UP. "So she would love to see polarisation of votes between her and Ajit Singh's RLD in western UP by supporting the demands for the Harit Pradesh," the BSP source further explained.


Although the demand for the creation of a separate Purvanchal state is more than four decade old, it has never been a people's campaign. Reason: different organisations that raised the voice for Purvanchal could not join a single platform to polarise people in support of the separate state.

Leaders & organisations

UP's former planning minister Shatrudra Prasad, former Union minister Kalpnath Roy, Shyamdhra Mishra, Satya Prakash Malviya and Shyam Lal Yadav demanded the separate state under the banner of Purvanchal Banao Manch (PBM), which was formed on November 3, 1996 and is active in Varanasi region. Another organisation, Purvanchal Rajya Sthapana Samitee (PRSS), has been active in Gorakhpur region. P K Lahiri, PRSS convener, said the organisation had approached Gandhian leader Subba Rao to support the demand. A political party, Purvanchal Banao Dal, was launched in 1994. "It fields candidates during elections," said Lahiri.


The struggle for a separate Bundelkhand is more than two decade old. Although there are smaller organisations in favour of the demand, it is the Bundelkhand Mukti Morcha (BMM), headed by the actor Raja Bundela, that has been raising the voice of the separate state for 20 years.

Leaders & organisations

"Shankar Lal Mehrotra of Jhansi founded the BMM in 1989," recalled a source in Jhansi. After Mehrotra's death, it was politician Viral Bhai Patel who took the command of the BMM. Raja Bundela is associated with the BMM for more than one decade. After the Telanagana heat, Bundela revived the movement by taking out a 300-km padyatra from Kamnath temple in Chitrakoot district, UP, to Khajuraho in MP. At a recent press conference, he claimed that in 1948, princely states had signed a treaty with the Government of India which had agreed that they would constitute a single state, governed by the common legislature, executive and judiciary, and that he had obtained a copy of the treaty.

Besides BMM, Bundelkhand Ekikrit Party, Bundeli Party, Bundelkhand Gana Parishad and Bundelkhand Rajya Sangharsh Samitee have been demanding a separate state.


The demand for Harit Pradesh is more than a decade old. Sources in the BSP said Mayawati had supported the demand 12 years back at a public meeting in Mathura.

Leaders & organisations

Rashtriya Lok Dal, headed by Ajit Singh, has been raising the demand for the state both among the people and inside the Assembly. According to RLD MLA Kokab Hamid: "It was former PM Charan Singh who had demanded the creation of separate Harit Pradesh before the State Reorganisation Committee in 1953. He was accompanied by nine MLAs. In 1955, the State Reorganisation Committee had nodded for the division of UP into two parts. So, we won't take rest before getting our demand fulfilled."


There is also a demand for the creation of Sonanchal comprising Mirzapur, Sonbhadra and Chandauli.

Leaders & organisations:

In 2005, Sonanchal Sangharsh Samiti had organized meetings in support of the demand. This organisation is headed by Hariram Chero.

 OBC list changes threaten to stir caste cauldron

SUKHMANI SINGH JAIPUR, JULY 27: LEAKED highlights of a proposal by the state OBC Commission trifurcating Rajasthan's Other Backward Classes has left the dominant Jat community fuming.

The 60 lakh-strong Jats - a sizeable part of Rajasthan's 5.64-crore population - have been clubbed with the Gujjars, Bishnois, Ahirs and Mahlis in the newly classified A category and given 6 per cent reservation. The community earlier enjoyed a blanket 21 per cent reservation.

Those considered more backward, such as the Darjis, Lohars, Tarkhans and Telis, have been put in the B category with seven per cent reservation.

The most backward castes such as the Banjaras, Jogis and Nats form the C category with eight per cent reservation.

Those calling for blanket reservation as well as groups demanding two separate categories of OBCs are unhappy, and if implemented, the proposals of the commission headed by retired chief justice R.S. Verma could spell political harakiri for Chief Minister Ashok Gehlot.

While a senior BJP leader cautions that clearing the proposal ''could lead to violence'', Gyan Prakash Pilania, former Rajasthan DGP and a patron of the Jat Mahasabha, says: ''No mature chief minister will implement it''.

Satya Narain Singh Saini, patron of the fast growing Samajik Nyay Manch which has been demanding two OBC lists and reservation for economically backward upper castes such as the Rajputs and Brahmins, says: ''The proposal is just a strategy to avoid making the two lists demanded, and strengthen the privileges enjoyed by the powerful Jats. The proposed measures have been deliberately leaked to taste public reaction.''

''Chief Minister Gehlot will refrain from implementing it on the grounds that it will lead to violence. He knows that the proposal follows no principle of classification and will lead to caste tension in villages,'' says Saini.

Gehlot, a Malhi (gardener), is hardly seen as a Jat sympathiser. He is believed to have reluctantly agreed to include the Jats in the OBC list in November 1999 because of pressure from the Centre and political compulsions. Rajasthan has 39 Jat MLAs and nine MPs. Five ministers in the state cabinet belong to the community.

Verma has denied that he framed the proposal in accordance with the wishes of Gehlot. ''The government had no say,'' he says.

Over a year ago, the five-member commission had released a report recommending ''bifurcation of Backward Castes'' with a seven and 14 per cent break-up, which was eventually rejected. It was asked to re-work the proposal.

Cultural wars by conservatives to cover up economic exploitation

Posted by samathain on February 11, 2009

Samatha : This article discusses how the conservative machinery worked to mislead workers to vote against their own interests in the name of cultural and family values, not recognizing the gradual economic exploitation. Rich became extremely rich and the poor got only poorer. When this situation acquires a critical mass, you will have less people who can afford the goods produced by the very efficient manufacturers. Economy crumbles as it has happened in the last few months all over the world. Theory that everybody is just buyer or seller in terms of market ignores the fact that society is about people earning decent living standards. Even though below article is about conservatism by american republican party, it sheds lots of insight in to what's happening in India too. Right wing political parties in india have also been using similar strategies. Recommended for everyone interested in dalit welfare, as dalits form a major chunk of the poor.

Also read below article:
Little Modi's Corporate Safari

Source: Community Knowledge Net

Planning the Counterattack
Against Radical Conservatism

Jerry Kloby
(Institute for Community Studies, Montclair, New Jersey)
The Great Divide: Retro vs. Metro America, by John Sperling, Suzanne Helburn,
Samuel George, John Morris and Carl Hunt. Sausalito, CA: PoliPointPress,
2004. 296 pp. $19.95 (paper). ISBN: 0–976021–0–0.
What's the Matter with Kansas? How Conservatives Won the Heart of America,
by Thomas Frank. New York: Henry Holt and Company, 2004. 320
pp. $24.00 (cloth). ISBN: 0–8050–7339–6. $14.00 (paper). ISBN:
Reason: Why Liberals Will Win the Battle for America, by Robert Reich. New
York: Knopf, 2004. 272 pp. $24.00 (cloth). ISBN: 1–4000–4221–6. $14.00
(paper). ISBN: 1–4000–7660–9.
Watching the best sellers list can be an interesting pastime. Over the
past few years the non-fiction category has become a bit like a horse
race. Conservatives have been producing a steady stream of books telling
Americans about the 100 people who are "screwing up" their country
and that we need to "be delivered" from the treasonous evils of liberalism.
Liberals and progressives have landed quite a few counterpunches
against these "lying liars" of the "culture wars." Some of the leftish books
rise above the fray. They go beyond simply countering the distortions
made by the right wing to offering thought-provoking analysis of the
recent rise of the political right in the United States, and, in some cases,
proposing a strategy for corrective action. This essay examines three such
books, all of which shed some light on why the right has been so successful
and offer some ideas for a strategic counteroffensive.

Easily the most impressive of the three, at least in terms of research
and visual presentation, is The Great Divide authored by John Sperling
et al. Sperling is probably best known as the founder of the University
of Phoenix, which provides college degrees via internet-based courses.
Sperling has his hand in a number of other businesses as well, and was
named one of the top twenty-five entrepreneurs of the past twenty-five
years by Inc. magazine.
Robert Reich's Reason is a more subdued and readable book that does
not overwhelm the reader. Reich has held numerous positions in the
federal government including secretary of labor under President Clinton.
He has authored ten books including the well-known I'll Be Short: Essentials
for a Decent Working Society
Thomas Frank, the author of What's the Matter with Kansas? is not a businessman
or a former high-ranking government official. He is a journalist,
the founding editor of The Baffler (a magazine of cultural criticism established
in 1988), the author of One Market Under God, a frequent contributor to
The Nation, Harper's, and Le Monde diplomatique, and a native of Kansas.

The books reflect their author's biographies. The Great Divide is an oversized,
glossy, well-financed publication, by a team of writers and researchers.
In style and substance it reflects its progressive-minded business roots.
Reich's book, Reason, is much more modest. It is written in the friendly,
engaging style of an experienced politician who has a knack for making
you feel that he is talking directly to you, not down at you. Frank's book
makes you appreciate journalists – something that is hard to do these
days. He brings the reader's attention to Kansas's progressive roots, while
asking: what happened to Kansas that moved it from those progressive
roots to a place where the majority consistently votes against its class
interests? His analysis is witty, deep, and clearly focused on the class
divisions that exist in the United States, divisions that Sperling et al.,
and Reich, to some extent, gloss over.
The authors all have concerns about the direction that the United
States is headed and, for most of them, those concerns include questions
about the future of the Democratic Party. Not since Nixon's defeat of
McGovern have the Democrats been forced to reflect so much on who
they are and where they want to go.
The Great Divide argues that American politics can best be analyzed by
seeing the United States as a divided nation. One is traditional, rooted
in the past – Retro. The other is modern and focused on the future –
Metro. Retro America's chief characteristics include: religiosity, social
conservatism, an economic base of extraction industries, agriculture, nondurable
goods manufacturing, military installations, and a commitment
to the Republican Party. Its 25 states encompass 66 percent of the land
mass and 35 percent of the population.The term is from Ken Cook, director of the Environmental Working Group. See
Egan (2004).
Metro America, on the other hand, is loosely held together by a common
interest in promoting economic modernity and by shared cultural
values marked by religious moderation, vibrant popular cultures, a tolerance
of differences of class, ethnicity, tastes, and sexual orientation,
and a tendency to vote Democratic. Metro America has 34 percent of
the land mass and 65 percent of the population – 70 percent of the
metropolitan population.
Sperling and his colleagues claim that "culture and economics are the
major elements that determine voting behavior and, in turn, shape the
ideology and organization of the Republican and Democratic Parties"
(p. xvii). However, to a large extent they view the geographic distribution
of political power as a determining factor in shaping the electorate and
the two major parties.
Retro America is the America favored by the Republican Party and,
according to Sperling et al., Retro America is on the dole. What the
authors term "retronomics" is supported by two pillars: 1) the extraction
industries (oil, gas, mining and forestry) and agriculture, and 2) national
political power based on the alliance between the Southern, Prairie, and
Rocky Mountain states. The political alliance ensures a flow of subsidies
for the extraction industries and the siting of federal facilities – military
bases, shipyards, atomic energy, and military testing grounds. As a result
of this alliance, Retro America received US$ 800 billion more in federal
payments than it paid in taxes for the years 1991 to 2000. Conversely,
the 23 Metro states paid US$ 1.4 trillion more in taxes than they received
back from the federal government. In other words, Retro America enjoyed
an advantage of US$ 2.2 trillion over Metro America. More to the point,
perhaps, is that the excess in spending compared to tax receipts is not
due to higher federal assistance to the poor (with the exception of New
Mexico), but to the greater subsidies paid to the extraction industries
(oil, mining, lumber) and agriculture.
Many metro states pay much more in federal taxes than they receive
back from the federal government. For example, from 1991 to 2001,
New Jersey paid an excess of US$ 265.4 billion, California paid US$
253.5 billion over what it received in subsidies, Illinois paid US$ 252.7
billion more, and New York paid US$ 242.2 billion. Per family, the
biggest losers are Connecticut (US$ 116,179), New Jersey (US$ 97,559)
and Nevada (US$ 67,125). Ironically, the blue states are subsidizing Retro
America, leading some to refer to the Retro states as the "red ink"
Overall, only 13 percent of those in Congress are minorities, compared to 31 percent
of the population at large.
The Great Divide is a very useful resource for documenting some telling
differences between the Republican and Democratic Parties in terms of
their representativeness. For instance, of the 278 Republicans in the 108th
Congress, 252 were male and just 26 female. In other words, only 9.4
percent of the Republicans in Congress are female, compared to18.4
percent of Democrats. In addition, 98.6 percent of Republicans are white,
compared to 79.1 percent of Democrats.2
Sperling et al., find much of the conservatism of Retro America rooted
in its Christian fundamentalist base – a base that has a significant hold
on the country at large. They cite an ABC News poll that found 60
percent of American adults believe the Bible is literally true, including
its story of the world being created in six days, and a Pew poll finding
that 36 percent believe God gave Israel to the Jews and "the state of
Israel is a fulfillment of the biblical prophecy about the second coming
of Jesus." The fundamentalists' faith in their beliefs leads to inflexibility.
In the words of the authors: ". . . there is arrogance and a false sense
of superiority because the Bible tells humans that they are to have dominion
over all the plants and the animals and are empowered to do with
them what they will" (pp. 74–74 [??AU: check page range]).
Reading The Great Divide, one can't help but wonder why the Democrats
did not take advantage of Bush's poor performance record in his home
state. For example, Texas has the dirtiest air in the country, it ranks
forty-seventh in water quality, and has the seventh highest rate of release
of toxic industrial byproducts. Texas also has the greatest proportion,
nearly 25 percent, of residents without health insurance coverage (US
Census Bureau 2004:25).
The State's Republican Party platform itself might have been enough
to deter many voters from pulling the lever for George W. Among the
planks in the state platform are:
• Nullify the separation of Church and State.
• The Census Bureau should only determine [sic] the number of people
in a dwelling.
• Repeal the 16th amendment authorizing the income tax.
• Oppose the theory of global warming.
• Oppose the Endangered Species Act.
• Repeal the minimum-wage law.
• Replace Social Security with a system of private pensions.
• Oppose women's right to abortion.
• Abolish the US Department of Education.
• Teachers should be encouraged to teach Creationism, not Darwinian
evolutionary theory or a scientific world view (p. 69).
In terms of political strategy, The Great Divide calls for the Democrats to
present a clear identity. The authors claim that the Republicans have
established themselves as the party of Retro America and the Democrats
must respond by becoming the party of Metro America. In contrast to
the Republican values often expressed as "God, Family, and Flag," the
Great Divide suggests the Democratic "brand" express the values of
"Inclusion, Science, and Security." The identity can be promoted by
adopting a strategy that is "future-oriented, fair, and revives our belief
in government as the upholder of the public interests" (p. 236). Such a
strategy, they claim, will solidify the base of the party – union families,
people of color, women, and people of all ethnicities who live in cosmopolitan
How does one begin the process of establishing national policies based
on the values of Metro America? In answering this The Great Divide is
like one of those instruction manuals that leaves you scratching your
head wondering if you're missing a few pages. Step one is to elect a
Democrat Congress and step two is to elect a Democratic President.
"Once in control of the House of Representatives, the Presidency, and
we hope, the Senate . . ."
• We must appoint judges who will respect the separation of church
and state and the right of women's choice.
• Create a fair tax system.
• End corporate welfare, especially in agriculture.
• Preserve and improve Social Security.
• Create a system of universal health care.
• Adopt trade policies that benefit US families and workers worldwide.
• Rationalize defense spending.
• Invest in a sustainable energy future.
• Invest in the future through education and research and development
(pp. 238–242).
And so on. The Great Divide is strong in documenting a major division
in American society on cultural and economic issues and in arguing that
there is a strong geographic connection. However, the authors fail to
provide a clear and detailed strategy for electing progressive Democrats
to Congress and to the presidency. The book needs a discussion of who
will exert the necessary pressure on the Democratic Party to ensure that
it moves in a positive direction rather than continue its endless chase to
an imagined middle ground. The Great Divide does not raise the question
of how such pressure could be generated.
Thomas Frank's book, What's the Matter with Kansas? lacks the color
and glitz of The Great Divide but it covers much of the same territory.
Frank focuses on his home state of Kansas in order to explore one of
the central questions of American politics: How do so many people keep
getting their fundamental interests wrong? They keep voting for politicians
who are dismantling the welfare state, cutting taxes on corporations
and the wealthy, eliminating regulations that hold corporations
accountable to the public interest, and accelerating the pace of deindustrialization
and capital flight. Meanwhile, conservatives never deliver
on the issues that won the support of these middle-American voters.
"Abortion is never halted. Affirmative action is never abolished. The culture
industry never cleans up its act" (p. 6).
Frank argues that since the "protests and partying" of the 1960s, conservatives
have been whipping up a backlash that mobilizes voters by
exploiting explosive social issues. The cultural anger is then wedded to
pro-business economic policies. And it is the economic achievements that
are the conservative movement's "greatest monuments."
Kansas, like the rest of the Great Plains, has a progressive past. It
gave the country Eugene Debs and Walter Reuther, and helped spawn
the IWW, the UAW, and the Farmer-Labor Party. Social Security,
according to Frank, was "largely a product of the Midwestern mind"
(p. 15). And Kansas was strongly abolitionist in the time leading up to
the Civil War.
The "Great Backlash," however, took hold in Kansas by the 1990s.
Frank says the push that started Kansas "hurtling down the crevasse of
reaction was provided by Operation Rescue . . ." (p. 91). During the
"Summer of Mercy" in July, 1991, Operation Rescue (a national antiabortion
organization founded in 1986 by Randall Terry) planned civil
disobedience all across Wichita. The city's abortion clinics reacted to
these plans by closing down for a week when the protests began. In
response, Operation Rescue claimed to have stopped the abortion "industry"
in its tracks. Thousands of anti-abortion activists descended on
Wichita participating in various acts of civil disobedience and a massive
rally in the football stadium at Wichita State University.
The anti-choice activity distracted attention from the nefarious forces
undermining working families and small farmers in Kansas and elsewhere.
In 1996, the misleadingly titled "Freedom to Farm Act" was
adopted. The act effectively terminated certain price supports, opened
all acreage to cultivation, and generally brought a close to the New Deal
system of agriculture regulation (non-recourse loans were ended with
major ramifications for the food industry and the waistlines of Americans)
(Pollin 2003). It also pushed the nation's remaining farmers into an overproduction
spiral causing prices for corn, wheat, and other crops to fall.
The principal author of the bill was Kansas Senator Pat Roberts.
The drop in prices led to federal government subsidies based on production,
which, in turn, resulted in large farms receiving the biggest
handouts. "In Kansas in 2000 and 2001, such federal handouts were
actually greater than what farmers earned from farming itself " (p. 65).
The Freedom to Farm Act and lower crop prices were a boon for big
food processing companies such as Archer Daniels Midland, ConAgra,
and Cargill.
Convincing people that it is in their interest to support politicians who
promote economic insecurity for American workers is no easy task. This
difficult undertaking can only be accomplished by a powerful media
apparatus. One of the strong points of What's the Matter with Kansas? is
Franks' discussion of the right's ideological infrastructure.
The conservative propaganda mills (a.k.a. think tanks) are intricately
tied to big business, including some of Kansas's home-grown corporate
giants. Koch industries, for example, is based in Wichita. It was founded
by Fred Koch, a charter member of the John Birch Society. His billionaire
son Charles founded the Cato Institute in 1977. Another son,
David, ran for vice president as a Libertarian. Koch money props up
the Manhattan Institute, the Heartland Institute, and Citizens for a Sound
Economy. Koch money also supported George W. Bush's campaigns, as
well as those of conservative Kansas Senator Sam Brownback. In addition,
Koch gives money to the Democratic Leadership council.
Conservatives pretend to be working class, or part of "middle America,"
but they consistently put forth economic policies that erode the wellbeing
of workers. They want Americans to believe that liberalism is all
powerful because it gets conservative lawmakers off the hook. (At the
time of this writing, the approval rating of a very conservative Congress
is an abysmal 33 percent.) (Real Clear Politics 2005). According to Frank,
the Great Backlash is a combination of traditional Republican politicians
and working class Janes and Joes, who signed on to preserve family values.
Although the cultural backlash has been building since the 1960s,
Frank says it has "pretty much been a complete bust . . . traditional gender
roles continue to crumble. Homosexuality is more visible and more
accepted than ever" (p. 121). The conservatives harp on cultural issues
but almost never achieve results on these issues. What they are really after
is cultural turmoil. It helps solidify their base by creating an enemy that
can be targeted – the latte-sipping, Volvo-driving, liberal elite – and
takes attention away from the right's economic initiatives, which are
undermining working families. The conservatives deny the economic basis
of social class while nurturing a cultural class war. The culture war
generates a fog that disguises the class-based nature of conservative policy
Frank doesn't seem to have much hope for the Democratic Party. He
is well aware of their corporate ties, and he notes that the Democratic
Leadership Council has been pushing the party to forget blue-collar voters.
They are more interested in courting corporate interests that can
contribute significantly more cash than unions. As mentioned, even the
right-wing Koch Industries give to the DLC.
Frank puts more effort at getting class into the center of the debate,
and he is quite critical of the approach offered by The Great Divide. In
his New York Times review, Frank argues that The Great Divide substitutes
region for class and in doing so the authors neglect the important question
of why low-wage workers in "Retroland" would vote for a system
that only benefits their masters (Frank 2004). Most disheartening, according
to Frank, is Sperling's recommendation to the Democratic Party that
it present itself as the true party of business and to denounce conservatism
as a superstition that undermines our international competitiveness.
And what does a progressive Democratic Party insider think of all
this? Robert Reich tells us in a friendly, lucid style that has made him
a widely-read author and a popular voice among those hoping to influence
Democratic strategy making. Reich's ties to the party and to the political
establishment are deep. He served as secretary of labor under President
Clinton and he worked for the Federal Trade Commission under President
Carter. He also worked for Robert Bork in the Justice Department when
Gerald Ford was president.
Reason is a defense of the liberal political philosophy and it serves the
important function of reminding readers of the goals of liberalism and
its claimed accomplishments. The classical liberal ideas that emerged in
the seventeenth and eighteenth centuries were to improve the well-being
of all people, not just the rich and the privileged. And Reich is a good
spokesperson for these ideals.
Reich is well aware of problems with the economic and political systems
and he takes a number of progressive positions. He points out that
the United States is the only advanced nation that doesn't have paid
family leave and that more than a third of working parents don't even
get holidays or sick leave from their employers. He notes that almost
every major bank in New York helped Enron commit fraud and that
corporate malfeasance is harmful to small businesses and investors. He
denounces runaway executive pay as a real scandal. Reich chides the
"Radcons" for concerning themselves with private morality but not the
public morality that leads to corporate wrongdoing or the corrosive
influence of money in politics. Reich says most campaign contributions
amount to legalized bribery and he favors a blind trust system that would
bar candidates from discovering who contributed what.
For Reich, society's progress has come as a result of the ideas developed
by liberal intellectuals, and not from the labor movement or class
struggle. According to Reich, liberalism "led New Dealers to regulate
banking and clean up Wall Street [and] prompted them to create Social
Security, unemployment insurance and a minimum wage, rather than
resort to European-style socialism" (p. 6). Twice over the last century,
Reich claims, liberals have saved capitalism from its own excesses.
There is much that is appealing in Reich's book but Reason is clearly
anti-socialist, it makes the labor movement historically invisible, and it
is unequivocally pro-globalization.
Reason is best when it attacks its chief target, radical conservatism.
Reich believes that Radcons hold their beliefs sincerely. They define the
world in terms of good and evil, and there is no compromising with
evil, no negotiating. It must be destroyed. Regardless of whether Radcons
are cynical or sincere, Reich does a good job of poking holes in their
arguments and bringing attention to the right's ideological infrastructure.
He states: "Radcons have risen by means of a highly efficient, selfreinforcing
system designed to shape public opinion and politics. The
system consists of a steady stream of money from corporate executives,
wealthy ideologues, conservative family foundations, and Radcon media
tycoons . . ." (p. 9). On the other hand, "there are almost no liberal radio
or television personalities . . ." (p. 9).
Indeed, it is the right's sustained efforts at building ideological propaganda
mills and developing their capacity to influence the established
media and lawmakers that provides one of the most direct answers to
Thomas Frank's question of why so many people vote against their basic
Understanding the influence of the right in the mainstream media, as
well as their capacity to develop their own media outlets, is crucial to
understanding the broader ideological questions. Conservatives have built
counter-institutions and alternative professional associations. They have
set up propaganda mills that cultivate and support conservative writers,
that do pseudoscientific research and send out executive summaries, press
releases, and talking points to government officials, conservative talk show
hosts, the media, educational institutions, and on and on. They set up
pseudo-scholarly magazines. They buy radio stations. They get their distorted
word out. The National Committee for Responsive Philanthropy
reported in 1997 that twelve conservative foundations gave US$ 120 million
to organizations promoting right-wing causes. The comparable figure
for liberal groups was significantly less at just US$ 18.6 million.
Another element of the right's upsurge is the growth of pundits and
talk-show hosts who promote the Radcon agenda. Rush Limbaugh's radio
show went national in 1988. Rupert Murdoch owns Fox News, a national
cable TV station commanded by Republican political strategist Roger
Ailes. There is little on the left that is comparable.
Of the nationally syndicated talk shows on 691 stations in the top 120
markets, 86 percent are conservative. The top five radio station owners
broadcast 310 hours of nationally syndicated right-wing talk each week
and just 5 hours of non-conservative talk. The major right-wing propaganda
mills and Republican political committees send their talking points
by e-mail or fax to about 400 right-wing radio hosts. All of the books
reviewed here make note of the forceful presence of right-wing ideological
institutions, but unfortunately none of them offer clear ideas about
how to counter it.
Reich points out that Radcons have been remarkably effective at scapegoating
and their media infrastructure facilitates this finger pointing. But
where Reason is most problematic is when Reich perfunctorily, and without
equivocation, defends globalization in its current corporate-led form.
In fact, Reich suggests that labor's critique of free trade is another form
of scapegoating ("meanwhile," Reich says, "some on the left, including
organized labor, want to blame free trade") (p. 123). He claims that
manufacturing jobs have decreased not just in the USA but in Brazil,
Japan, and China, as though the shift away from manufacturing is the
totality of the problem. And he argues against promoting international
labor and environmental standards because "it makes no sense for the
left to demand that our trade treaties with poor nations include "labor
and environmental standards," unless such standards are pegged to what
poorer nations can afford. As poorer nations become wealthier, their
workers' wages and their environmental standards should be expected to
improve" (p. 125).
Reich says if we want to blame anything for the loss of manufacturing
jobs then blame knowledge (talk about shifting attention away from
class!). "Everything is coming from everywhere. And any job that's even
slightly routine is disappearing from America" (p. 126). Tell that to all
the American workers serving coffee, mopping floors, and taking care of
the elderly. The hypermobility of finance capital is not a problem, from
Reich's point of view, "it makes perfect economic sense for Americans
to invest all over the world" (p. 138).

Anti-globalists be warned, Reich cries, "you're on the wrong side of
history . . .you're not seeing all the new jobs" (p. 128). If this is what
progressive Democrats have to offer, why would the working class throw
its support behind the Democratic Party?
And, although Reich believes the Democrats are too dependent on
corporate contributions and that such contributions amount to legal form
of bribery, he does not hesitate to declare "I always believed it possible
to reform the nation by working within the political system – and still
do" (p. 12). As long at that system doesn't restrict capital mobility or
redistribute the wealth, "we can't bridge the widening gap just by transferring
wealth from the have-mores to the have-lesses. Direct redistributions
are politically treacherous" (p. 132). On the other hand, Reich
goes on to talk about how unfair the recent tax cuts are.
Reason has much in common with The Great Divide. They both offer a
liberal perspective that presents liberalism as a forward-looking set of
ideas that are detached from social class. What Reich and Sperling et
al., offer is an enlightened corporate viewpoint that recognizes that lowering
the cost of labor to third-world levels is not the only way to attract
investment and revive economically vulnerable regions of the United
States. The authors recognize the economic and social importance of an
educated public and an efficient infrastructure. And they recognize that
government has the capacity to play a constructive role in developing
both the social and the physical infrastructure. The authors are also
aware that high levels of inequality represent a threat to democracy.
They believe in democracy and they understand the threat that the
extremes of capitalism can present. "A society is different from an economy,"
Reich says, "people aren't just buyers and sellers in a market.
They're also citizens engaged in a joint project of improving the wellbeing
of current and future generations" (p. 144).
But Reich and Sperling et al., downplay the power of the corporate
class. They do not call for strong democratic control of the nation's productive
resources, only improved corporate accountability to stockholders.
They marginalize the role of labor and, although they point out the
strength of the right wing's ideological infrastructure, they do not offer
a prescription for developing a competing one. Frank's book suffers some
of the same shortcomings but he, at least, is injecting class much more
forcefully into the discussion.
The arguments presented in all three books are best understood in
the context of two myths that present substantial stumbling blocks to the
development of a broad-based progressive movement. One is the myth
that the conflict of haves and have-nots has been supplanted by a new
cultural divide. This is a myth propagated by right-wing pundits who
rant about America's culture wars and it is perpetuated by pollsters who
found that most voters in November 2004 were motivated by moral values.
But the term "values" is a very nebulous and subjective term. These
poll results were often interpreted as meaning that voters were motivated
by "family values" (i.e., the kind expressed by conservative Republicans),
but many people value social justice, world peace, corporate responsibility,
and honesty in government. Commentators could just as well say
that these people are also motivated by moral values. When analysis does
not look deeply at the real issues underlying general notions of a new
social divide then it does do more to obscure than to clarify.
The second myth is the need for austerity. It is the belief that the
United States can no longer afford to provide substantial benefits to its
working people. The need for austerity is usually justified by references
to the competitive nature of the global economy.
Neither of these beliefs hold true. For decades worker pay in the
United States has been increasing much more slowly than productivity.
The benefits of this productivity are conveyed upward to the investor
class. Consider the fact that the mean net worth of the richest 1 percent
of Americans grew by nearly US$ 5 million over the past two decades –
from US$ 7.8 million in 1983 to US$ 12.7 million in 2001 (in 2001 dollars).
By contrast, the mean net worth of middle class Americans increased
by less than US$ 15,000, and the net worth of the lowest 40 percent of
Americans decreased by more than US$ 2,000 (Wolff 2004). Consider also,
that in 1989 the richest 1 percent of Americans owned financial assets
(i.e., investment capital) that totaled US$ 2.4 trillion. By 2001 their
financial assets had grown to US$ 6.4 trillion (Kennickell 2003).
Globally, it's the same story. The richest one percent own more assets
than the lowest 90 percent combined. The 1990s, in spite of economic
growth that added approximately US$ 10 trillion per year to the global
economy, left the number of people living in dire poverty basically
unchanged at more than one billion (Flavin 2002).
Any existing austerity is a surplus austerity. That is to say, it is a product
of social domination not economic underproduction. The policies of
the both the Bush Administration and Congress are clearly promoting
class interests. Federal tax "reforms" enacted since 2001 have resulted
in an average tax cut of US$ 123,592 for the nation's seven-figure income
earners. There are approximately 250,000 households in the USA with
incomes of over a million dollars, their tax cuts cost the rest of the country
more than US$ 30 billion in 2005 alone. Middle-income households,
on the other hand, received an average tax cut of just US$ 647 (Shapiro
and Friedman 2004).

Likewise, six million workers lost eligibility for overtime pay thanks to
the Bush Administration. New rules regarding overtime pay went into
effect on August 23, 2004. These rules reclassified certain administrative
workers, learned professionals, financial service workers, and even cooks
so that they will no longer be eligible for overtime pay. The reclassification
affects workers who make as little as US$ 24,000 a year (Eisenbrey 2004).
The right wing's ideological machinery has propagated the belief that
liberalism undermines America's values. But both conservatives and many
liberal thinkers propagate the myth of austerity. Conservatives have gained
the upper hand by building an extensive ideological infrastructure.
Conservative media outlets blame liberals for a wide variety of social ills
and they have sufficiently confused enough voters to get a critical mass
of them believing that the policies of George W. Bush and his radical
Republican supporters are not made in the interests of a privileged capitalist
class but are made to counter the corrosive effect of liberal dominance
and to restore the collective strength of the US economy in the
context of the new global economy.
Polling data gives us an inkling to how confused many voters are.
During the 2004 election, pollsters found that a majority of the people
who voted for George W. Bush thought he favored the inclusion of labor
and environmental standards in trade agreements, that he was for US
participation in a treaty to ban land mines, that he favored US participation
in a treaty that bans the testing of nuclear weapons, that he was
for US participation in the International Criminal Court, and that he
was for US participation in the Kyoto accords on reducing global warming.
Of course, the president was (when all the qualifiers and exceptions
for the United States are considered) opposed to all of these international
efforts (Program on International Policy Attitudes 2004).
Did the Democrats differ on these issues? Yes, they did. Did they
make it clear? Well apparently they did to their supporters. Kerry voters
were much more likely to have an accurate assessment of his position.
But why were Bush supporters so wrong about their candidate?
Here we once again must return to the failure of the Democrats to wage
ideological warfare. Would it have been so hard to make people aware
of the Texas Republican Party platform described earlier in this essay?
Or to expose the deceptions practiced by the Republican right? The
problem is only partially that the Democrats don't have the ideological
machinery. The bigger problem may be that they are too similar to the
Republicans when it comes to some core beliefs, especially their deference
to the rule of capital.
This also explains why the Reich and Sperling books almost totally
neglect labor as a force for progressive change. While leftists often harshly
3 See Critical Sociology, vol. 31 no. 3, 2005, for a further discussion of Clawson's work.
criticize the part played by organized labor in shoring up the power of
capitalism in the United States, they usually hold out some hope that labor
can be a progressive force, as it was in the past. Gapasin and Yates
(2005), in their recent discussion of the state of labor, say unequivocally
that "governments and global lending agencies such as the World Bank
and International Monetary Fund" implemented "policies that made
workers increasingly insecure," but they see numerous signs that sectors
of organized labor are making common cause with the antiglobalization
movement and that there are some trends toward "social justice unionism"
(Gaspin and Yates 2005:3). Likewise, Dan Clawson's The Next Upsurge
provides evidence that the labor movement may be on the verge of a
major upsurge.3
Yes, Democrats can do a better job of framing the issues (Lakoff 2004)
and, more generally, progressives are hindered by the lack of an ideological
infrastructure (a point made well by Robert Parry in a June, 2005,
article titled "The Left's Media Miscalculation"). But perhaps the biggest
obstacle to a truly progressive response to the surging strength of radical
conservatism is the Democratic Party's unwillingness to take the lead
on class issues. To even expect them to do so without pressure from
progressive forces is naive. The Democratic Party will only attempt to
lead the counteroffensive if it is forced, as has been the case in the past.
The impetus for such a movement may include progressive elements of
the Democratic Party but it is more likely to come from labor, progressive
think tanks, and grassroots social-justice organizations. The development
of such a progressive counterattack will involve building multiple
counter-hegemonic frameworks, including a new ideological infrastructure
and a progressive labor movement that connects to other movements
for equity and social justice.


Clawson, Dan
2003 The Next Upsurge: Labor and the New Social Movements. Ithaca, NY: Cornell
University Press.
Egan, Timothy
2004 "Big Farms Reap 2 Harvests with Aid as Bumper Crop." New York
Times, December 26.
Eisenbrey, Ross
2004 Longer Hours, Less Pay. Washington, DC: Economic Policy Institute, July.
Flavin, Christopher
2002 State of The World, 2002. New York, NY: W.W. Norton.
Frank, Thomas
2004 "American Psyche." New York Times, November 28.
Gapasin, Fernando E. and Michael D. Yates
2005 "Labor Movements: Is There Hope?" Monthly Review, June.
Kennickell, Arthur B.
2003 A Rolling Tide: Changes in the Distribution of Wealth in the United States,
1989–2001. The Levy Economics Institute, Working Paper No. 393.
Lakoff, George
2004 Don't Think of an Elephant! White Rive Junction, VT: Chelsea Green
Parry, Robert
2005 "The Left's Media Miscalculation." http://www.consortiumnews.
com/2005/042805.html, accessed April 29.
Pollin, Michael
2003 "The (Agri)Cultural Contradictions of Obesity." New York Times, October
Program on International Policy Attitudes
2004 The Separate Realities of Bush and Kerry Supporters. University of Maryland:
Center on International and Security Studies, October 21.
Real Clear Politics
Reich, Robert
2003 I'll Be Short. Boston, MA: Beacon Press.
Shapiro, Isaac and Joel Friedman
2004 "A Comprehensive Assessment of the Bush Administration's Record
on Cutting Taxes."
Center for Budget and Policy Priorities, http://www.–14–04tax-sum.htm#Distribution.
US Census Bureau
2004 Income, Poverty, and Health Insurance Coverage in the United States: 2003.
Current Population Reports, 60–226.
Wolff, Edward N.
2004 Changes in Household Wealth in the 1980s and 1990s in the United States. The
Levy Economics Institute, Working Paper No. 407.

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Posted in Adivasi Issues, Caste Issues, Current Affairs, Dalit Issues, Dalit Media, General, economy | Tagged: , , , , , , , , | Leave a Comment »

Chengara's Dalit-Adivasis call to restore their fundamental rights

Posted by samathain on October 23, 2008

By Vidya Bhushan Rawat

Bharathi Sreedharan could not resist taking risk on her life through dense forest as her children suffered in hunger and starvation in the Chengara village which has been unconstitutionally and unethically blocked by the trade union gangs of all the political parties including the ruling CPI(M) in Kerala. Her agonizing face reflected the happenings inside the village as for more than two months; it is completely cut off from rest of the country. No outsider is allowed to venture into the village and no villager is allowed to come out of it. CPM's goons attack people from the buses once they recognize that they have sympathies with Chengara people. Many families are on the verge of hunger death if in the next few days no arrangement of food supply is done. 'They want us to get out of the place but we are determined, says Bharathi, we won't allow them to take over the place. We are ready to face any eventuality'. We are ready to die for the cause of our children'.

Bharathi came hiding to get some ration from her brother. When the road is blocked from all the way, it is possible only through walking around 10 kilometers in the forest to come and reach the office and wait for him to be there at Laha Gopalan's office who is the leader of ' Sadhu Jan Vimochana Samyukta Vedi', the organization fighting for the land and livelihood rights of the Dalits and Adivasis in Chengara. It is remarkable that people have united in this struggle and are determined to sacrifice their lives for the land. Interestingly, it is for the first time, that Kerala is witnessing an assertive emerging Dalit Adivasi struggle independent of the influence of dominating communities irrespective of religion.

Gopalan hails from a trade union back ground as he worked in Electricity department and now swears by the legacy of both Baba Saheb Ambedkar and Ayyankali, another Dalit revolutionary from Kerala. The semi constructed office in Pattthanamthittha is a place where all the Dalit-Advasis in the Chengara struggle come and stay. According to Laha Gopalan, they ventured into the area some fourteen months back, as it was legally a government land which should have gone to the landless Dalit-Adivasis of Kerala. The government of Kerala was never interested in the land reform and whatever happened in the name of land reform was eyewash. The tragedy is that there are villages where the Dalits do not have land for even cremating their people. The issue of Dalits and tribal has been neglected by the national and state level parties and hence we decided to make our own destiny.

About 10 kilometer away towards Tiruwala lives the big family of Sabu who are five brothers. Each brother has a big family of his own to support. They have no land. Sabu and his wife have small tea shop. The number of children in the family and the small kitchen that they have for their survival tell the story as how the successive Kerala governments failed to give land to the Dalits. ' Sabu was happy that Chengara's vast track could have provided him a source of independent living and some land for agriculture work. He went there with other families. The real assault came from the trade unions this year when people refused to leave their land. ' The union felt that they can coerce us to accept their issues but at the moment people are ready to die. They will commit mass suicide if police and other forces are sending to evict them. We are not ready to accept anything less than a decent land package for our children', say Sabu. He adds that situation is worsening as there is no food, no water and no sanitation in the entire area. Particularly, it is becoming difficult for children and elderly people to stay. Because of the blockade, we can not provide emergency treatment to any of the villagers as vehicles are not allowed and there is every chance of a bloody fight if we come in touch with the trade union people. Children are facing the malnutrition as there is nothing to eat and drink. We can not go to market to buy milk and rice. Moreover, because of no work in the past two months, there is no money to buy anything'.

How come he is here in the village. ' Sir, the union people allowed us 5 days leaves during the Onam festivities. We were allowed to move in and out and hence I came here. I have overstayed here and hence it is difficult to go there because of blockade'. I can not speak to my relatives and friends there, I am really worried as if food is not provided to people soon, they will start dying soon. I am concerned about children and elderly people. They are completely cut off from the rest of the world. It is shameful.'

The seize of Chengara went off well until one day the government which was keen to revive its lease to Harrison Plantation decided that the Dalit and Adivasis could only be evicted if they push it through other routs which is 'right to live' issue of the 70 odd plantation workers who were working there. The issue is the Chengara's tea plantation was already defunct years ago and hence to blame the current situation for the crisis is absolutely wrong. Harrison Plantation cannot use these 70 workers as a shield to deny land rights of the people. The tactics they adopted are fascistic in nature as from the August this year, the situation worsened after the plantation trade union and CPM in particular started blockade. Now the parties have not only used the local tea plantation trade unions but people have been invited from other parts of the state also against the landless people. All the ways going to Chengara were blocked by the party men and no material including medical aid was allowed to go into the village. Only allowance given to people was during ONAM festivities when the blockade was lifted for 5 days to let the people celebrate the festival. But after that the blockade has become functional and harsher and it might turn into a bloody war. Now the situation has gone out of hand. People inside the Chengara area have no source of livelihood; there is no supply of food and water. Some Muslim youth organizations of the area wanted to send rice for the families but but never allowed to do so. It is violation of their rights to food and free from hunger. The state government has shamelessly allowed the situation to go out of hand which has given strength to the trade unions.

It is unfortunate that in this war against their Dalits and tribal the organized gang of the trade union is taking action irrespective of ideology. It is a rare combination of how the upper caste communists and the Hindutva people can come together to wipe out the legitimate demands of the Dalits and tribals. The duplicity of the CPM's idea comes that the same party launch movement for restoration of land in Andhra Pradesh but want to say that all the Dalits and tribals who have now settled in Chengara are encroachers. Perhaps they have forgotten their own slogan of ' Jo jameen sarkari hai, woh jameen hamari hai ( the government land is our land. Land struggles historically invoked this slogan. Harrison Plantation Company did not have legal rights to the acquired land. The lease expired long back. The dalits and tribal who did not get benefited under any programme of the government rightfully acquired the land and asked the government to redistribute it to them. How come the communist government of Kerala kept quiet and turned hostile to Dalits who have just extended the slogan what the communist parties have been raising every where else except in the states they have been ruling. Is it because this land struggle is first of its kind being led by the Dalits and have organized both the Dalits and tribal together in the state.

Dalits have been asking the government to allot them land. In 2006 in the Patthanamthitta district after five days struggle in the government land of rubber plantation area, the land was given to the Dalits on the papers only. Many people are still trying to find where there land is which was given to them on papers by the state government. Says, Raghu, one of the members of the Solidarity Committee, 'we do not want papers, we want land'.

Patthanamthitta is a district about 60 kilometers from Kottayam, the heart of the Syrian Christian, the original brahmanical convert to Christianity. About 40 kilometer from the town is the heart of Ayappa, the Hindu God. The land relations here are different as the dominant community here is the upper caste Christians. What their role is in the entire struggle of the Dalits, I ask Raghu. ' Oh, like any other feudal, the Syrian Christians also are not interested in the battle of Dalits. Dalits here have separate churches for them.' The Solidarity Committee members like Simon John, who is also Chairman of Backward People Development Corporation, Kerala concede that the original Brahmin converts to Christianity have not left their old prejudices in the Church and therefore are not very keen in supporting the movement of the Dalits and tribal in Chengara. Like the CPM cadre, many of them too feel that the Dalits and tribal have 'encroached' the government land, though it is another matter that they all forgot that Harrison Plantation has been the biggest encroacher and was overstaying at the place. It is also shocking that Kerala did not have substantial land reform and all talks of a Kerala module in the developmental text books are big farce if one visit the rural areas of Kerala and speak to Dalits and tribals. A lot is written about Kerala model as a state. Recently a friend wrote to me from London about casteless, dowerless society in Kerala. Yes, I said, Kerala's caste prejudices are hidden underneath like West Bengal since the first thing the communist regime does is to stop the export of information to outside world. More importantly since a large number of writers and authors actually have been sympathetic to the CPM's policies with upper caste mindset, they do not really expose the Kerala myth. It was not just Bengal, Tatas have huge track of land in Kerala in the name of tea gardens and plantation. One should not forget that great Dalit revolutionary Ayyankali emerged in Kerala to fight for the rights of Dalits. It is not for nothing that both Patthanmthitta and Trivendram represent two different kind of dominations that Kerala has : the Christian domination and the Hindu domination. Both these upper elites interest are against the rights of the Dalits and other marginalized communities. They remain caged to their old prejudiced worldview.

Laha Gopalan is a determined man. He has seen the traumas of the Dalit communities in the villages where they do not even have land for funeral leave alone for education and houses. ' The political parties, both at the national and state level have betrayed the cause of the Dalits and tribal,' he says. ' We started our struggle when people failed to get land by any request. We found that there is no land to them and the government wanted to further the lease at the area which was being used by the Dalits and tribal. Our historic struggle started last year as 7000 people captured the area and started living there. One should have expected that the communist parties which have raised the slogans of ' jo jameen sarkari hai, wo jameen hamari hai, ( Government land is our land) today are strangely at the other end. There is no hope in the sight as the trade unions are determined to take law in their own hand and kill people with chief minister virtually becoming a 'Dhritrastra'.

Says Laha Gopalan, ' when we started our first struggle the government termed that they were genuine demands. In June 2006 about 5000 families were living in another plantation area when the revenue minister interfered and promised them land. Chief Minister Achutanandan promised about 1 acre land to each family of the landless but nothing happened. Since August 4, 2007, there are over 7000 families and the government has so far neglected their demand. The unions have surrounded the area and are beating people who are showing solidarity. The lives of the solidarity committee members are in deep threat in the area. They are being identified in the buses, taxis and even in the press conferences and targeted.'

' Even in the war zones people allow doctors and medical teams to visit the victims but here the goons of CPM and other trade unions have denied that too to the people,' says Simon John. They are not allowing the food supply in the village. There is a hunger and starvation situation prevailing in the 'samarbhoomi' and one person is already dead due to hunger. It is violation of people's right to life', add John. ' We are deeply disturbed at the turn of events as government and political parties led by the upper castes are not at all bothered about the growing marginalization of the communities says another activist in Patthanamthittha.

Is it not strange and ironical that CPM and other communist parties who have been in the forefront of agitation against any kind of exploitation in the organized sector do not find that the landless people in Chengara are struggling for a genuine cause? The party leaders termed the entire struggle as unwanted and felt that the local goons and land mafias have taken over the Chengara land struggle. Ofcourse, Party's anti Dalit stand is visible anywhere. One does not blame the top leadership of the party for being anti Dalit as it would be too much to blame but definitely party's local leaders are not really that radical Dalit supporters as they should have been. CPM for that matter is like any other political party ( we wanted it remained a different political party) whose cadres hail from dominant communities and serve their local interest as we have seen in West Bengal and how the party remained mute to the displacement of about 700 Valmiki families in Belilius Park in Howarah several years back. Today, party's proud MPs have made use of the entire space for private properties and shops. Ofcourse, the poor Balmikis never got support from any other Bhadralok parties in Bengal and living in Bengal in highly uncivilized and unacceptable conditions near the waste-mountains, on sewerage lines and on the railway tracks. Similar thing happen in Kerala where the Dalits and Adivasis of Chengara have not got support from any other political outfits. That gives strength to fascistic tendencies of the ruling party and their leaders. But the fact is this nationalism of the communist parties is more dangerous. Our problems with the Hindutva fascist is that we know that they are against the people but when the so called leaders of the proliterariat start behaving neo Hindutvavadis then situation need special remedial measures otherwise people's frustration would explode soon.

Chengara's land struggle is historical. It shows that people can not really depend on government dole out for land. Political parties in connivance with the defunct industrial houses are keeping people landless. New landlessness is on the rise. Courts are being used as an excuse to evict people. The marginalized have understood this and are ready to fight till end. If the government of Kerala think it is wrong, let it come out in open and say that they oppose people's movement for land right. The government cannot use trade unions and other goons to threaten people and evict them. Life in Chengara has become miserable and any further delay will turn Chengara into another Nandigram. The situation in Chengara would become more dangerous and bloody if the government does not behave responsibly. All national and international rights bodies should take care of this note that denying people free movement is denying them right to choice and livelihood. Kerala government has failed to protect Chengara's Dalits and Adivasis right to move free from one place and other. The inhuman blockade has created unprecedented situation where children and elderly people in Chengara are suffering. Any further delay would escalate the crisis and only government of Kerala would be held responsible for this. The government must act fast and negotiate with the struggling masses of Chengara. The trade union blockade is unconstitutional and illegal and must be removed immediately as it violate the fundamental rights of the people living there who are victim of the criminal silence of the government and civil society.

Vidya Bhushan Rawat
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Govt panel wants SC-ST Act to be extended to tribes

Posted by samathain on August 27, 2008

(Siddhartha Kumar)


Press Trust Of India
New Delhi, August 24, 2008
Govt panel wants SC-ST Act to be extended to tribes
A high-level government panel has recommended extension of provisions
of the Scheduled Castes and Scheduled Tribes (Prevention of
Atrocities) Act to the denotified, nomadic and semi-nomadic tribes.
The National Commission for Denotified, Nomadic and semi-Nomadic
Tribes (NCDNST), entrusted to study the socio- economic conditions of
the tribal community and recommend measures for their all-round
uplift, presented a copy of its final report to Prime Minister
Manmohan Singh on August 20.
The report asked to process the recommendations urgently for a final
decision and its early implementation.
While presenting the copy of the report, chairman of the Commission
Balkrishna Sriram Renke briefly apprised the prime minister about the
recommendations, which included suggestions for initiation of special
housing scheme, education and skill development programmes for the
It was also recommended to create a permanent Commission for
denotified nomadic tribes on the lines of the National Commission for
Scheduled Castes, besides providing reservations to them, sources in
NCDNST said.
"Although the Criminal Tribes Act 1871, consolidated by Britishers to
notify certain tribes as 'born criminals' during the colonial rule was
repealed after Independence, the tribes continue to be victims of the
stigma," a senior official of the NCDNST said.

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Tribal India News – a compilation

Posted by samathain on August 25, 2008

[ Jharkhand yahoo group]

TRIBALS – 2007
(Updated Upto October – 2007)
Compiled by
K. Samu, Human Rights Documentation,
Indian Social Institute, Lodi Road, New Delhi
Tribals to leave for Kalinganagar rally (6)

BERHAMPUR: Tribals and peasants from districts of South Orissa have started arriving in the city to get
united to start their journey to attend the rally at Kalinganagar on January 2 to commemorate the first
anniversary of the death of tribals opposed to displacement in police firing there last year..The All India
Kisan Mazdoor Sabha (AIKMS) andLok Sangram Manch are organising these rural activists in Berhampur
so that they can reach Kalinganagar in an organised manner. According to B.C.Sadangi, the national
commitee member of the AIKMS, around 1500 activists from districts of south Orissa would gather in
Berhampur by Sunday night to start for Kalinganagar on Monday. (The Hindu 1/1/07)

Tribute paid to victims at Kalinga Nagar (6)
Kalinga Nagar (Orissa), Jan. 2: Thousands of tribal people, nearly half of them women, on Tuesday
gathered at Ambagadia village near here, to pay tribute to 13 of their fellowmen who were gunned down
by the police during a displacement protest rally on this day last year. The congregation included over
5,000 delegates from neighbouring Jharkhand, Chhattisgarh, West Bengal and Bihar. The tribals were
killed as the police opened fire on them when they opposed the construction of boundary walls for Tata
Steel's proposed six million tonne steel plant. Thirteen stone pillars erected at Ambagadia in memory of
the dead were formally unveiled. Although a year has elapsed since the incident, normalcy is yet to return
here. Chief minister Navin Patnaik has not yet visited Kalinga Nagar. The chief minister apprehends his
trip to the area might create anger among the affected tribals and result in widespread agitations in the
area. Interestingly, the Patnaik government has been projecting Kalinga Nagar as the steel hub. "The
government has stopped all dialogue with us after we had one with the chief minister six months ago. All
promises including withdrawal of cases against the tribals are forgotten. It's the government and not us
who created this situation in Kalinga Nagar and people anywhere will rise in revolt whenever the
government behaves in such fashion," leader of Bisthapan Virodhi Janmanch Ravi Jarika said. (Asian Age
Tribals vow to oppose displacement (6)
KALINGA NAGAR: Thousands of tribals who attended a public meeting here on Tuesday to pay tributes to
the 13 persons killed in police firing in this industrial township in Orissa's Jajpur district on January 2 last
year announced that they would oppose displacement across the country. No cultivable or forest land
should be handed over to private companies to set up industries or special economic zones either in
Orissa or any other part of the country, the tribals said. Alleging that the existing resettlement and
rehabilitation policies were `pro-industry,' those present at the meeting vowed to continue their struggle
against displacement that was making people sacrifice their land and livelihood sources. More than
10,000 tribals and members of pro-tribal mass organisations and political outfits from Orissa, Jharkhand,
Chhattisgarh, West Bengal, Bihar, Uttar Pradesh, Andhra Pradesh and Maharashtra attended the
meeting. They demanded that all States and the Centre stop transfer of tribal land in scheduled areas and
other areas to non-tribals and restore all unlawful alienation of land. To ensure this, stringent provisions
should be incorporated into the State and Central regulations. The meeting was organised by the
Bisthapan Virodhi Janmanch, which has been spearheading the anti-displacement agitation in Kalinga
Nagar since the police firing. The police opened fire when the tribals were agitating against the
construction of a boundary wall for a Tata Steel project. About the ongoing agitation by the tribals against
the project, the meeting decided no to allow the plant to come up in the area. (The Hindu 3/1/07)
Workshop for tribal youths held (6)
BERHAMPUR: To save the tribals from the corrupt practices during coming panchayat polls, a workshop
for tribal youths was organised at Paralakhemundi in Gajapati district on Monday by the organisation,
Mahila Vikas Samity. Sub-divisional panchayat officer of paralakhemundi, Chandrasekhar Moharana,
director of the Orissa Tribal Empowerment Project, Gopabandhu Das and others addressed the
workshop. (The Hindu 9/1/07)
Tribals oppose steel projects (6)
JAMSHEDPUR: Expressing their opposition to greenfield steel plants proposed to be set up by two
industrial groups in Jharkhand's East Singhbhum district, tribal groups staged a protest here on Tuesday
and resolved they would not allow "a repeat of Nandigram" in the State. Led by heads of about 30 villages
in Potaka block, the tribals, including children and women, brandished bows and arrows and shouted
slogans during the protest outside the Deputy Commissioner's office hereThe tribals are opposed to the
proposed projects of Jindal and Bhusan business groups. (The Hindu 10/1/07)
CM for Rs 30 cr sops to MP tribals (6)
Bhopal, Jan. 11: Having already given government employees a new year windfall and lakhs of pensioners
a reason to smile, Madhya Pradesh chief minister Shivraj Singh Chauhan offered a slew of sops worth Rs
30 crore annually for the state's sizeable tribal populace. The announcements were made at an "adivasi
panchayat" organised at Mr Chauhan's residence earlier this week. Provision for the funding, he said,
would be made in the next Budget. The panchayat was attended by over 2,000 tribal representatives and
leaders from all parts of the state. Among the sops announced was provision of TV sets with
direct-to-home (DTH) broadcast facility to all tribal student hostels in the state, hike in scholarship, free
toiletries, uniforms, bags and books for school going children, gift of at least three milk-giving livestock to
all families in 11 tribal-dominated districts under the Kaamdhenu project, housing facilities under the
Mukhya Mantri Awaas Yojana for those living below the poverty line and those staying in the state capital,
kisan credit cards for farmers, conversion of all forest villages into revenue villages and undertaking of
timely land surveys in rural areas, grant of land-owning pattas to all tribals staying in forest areas, adivasis
living in Dindori an Umaria were promised a polytechnic each in their district. Mr Chauhan also promised
to initiate development projects worth Rs 250 crore in adivasi areas. This would include opening of 25 new
health centres and 50 sub-health centres and alternative drinking water facilities in over 3,000 habitats.
State government sources said, the key to winning the confidence of tribals lay in granting land lease
rights to those who were tilling the land till as late as 2005. Linked to it was the conversion of forest
villages into revenue villages. This would give them the privilege of land ownership and inoculate them
against the danger of being driven out of their holdings. Presidential assent to the amendments made in
the Forest Conservation Act, 1980, recently passed by the Parliament was awaited. The sources argued
that though there was a lurking fear in many quarters that forest areas could be effectively denuded of
their green cover (which was not entirely unjustified), granting tribals land-holding rights on the soil they
laboured was overdue. The process of the above "conversion" had been begun by former Prime Minister
Atal Behari Vajpayee. The good thing was that since Assembly polls were still two years away, nobody
could claim that the sops had an electoral motive. (Asian Age 12/1/07)
Tribals in no mood to end blockade (6)
BHUBANESWAR: Despite High Court's directive to the State Government to remove the blockade from
National Highway No. 200 at Kalinga Nagar, the Jajpur district administration has not been able to
implement the order so far. With the administration failing to convince the agitating tribals to end their
agitation, the deadlock continues. The tribals who have been spearheading the agitation since the police
firing on January 2 last year are in no mood to remove the blockade. The office-bearers of Visthapan
Virodhi Janmanch, the organisation which has been spearheading the agitation, are of the view that they
would not lift the blockade till the Government fulfilled their demands. In its order passed on January 5, a
division bench of the High Court had directed the State Government "to take effective steps for removal
of the blockade over the said highway immediately". In their efforts to pacify the tribals, the district
authorities had held a meeting with some representatives of the Janmanch on Wednesday. However, the
Janmanch people sought time for a full-fledged meeting at a later date. "We are trying our best to
implement the High Court by persuading the tribals to remove the blockade," Jajpur Superintendent of
Police Asit Panigrahi said. Mr. Panigrahi said the next meeting with the tribals was likely to take place on
January 17 or 18 to sort out the matter. "We are hopeful that the tribals would agree for removal of the
blockade in view of the High Court order," he said. Although the High Court has made it clear in its order
that the district administration was at liberty to take appropriate measures under the law to remove the
blockade, the authorities are so far restraining themselves from using force to clear the blockade as the
same may aggravate the situation. The tribals have been blocking the highway since last year demanding
action against the officials who were present during the police firing in which 13 tribal men and women
were killed while opposing construction of the boundary wall for a proposed steel project of Tata Steel.
(The Hindu 13/1/07)
Lower castes are genetically closer (6)
Hyderabad, Jan. 14: People belonging to lower castes are genetically closer to tribal groups then they are
to upper castes, a study conducted by the Hyderabad-based Centre for Cellular and Molecular Biology
(CCMB) has discovered. Experts from the CCMB believe that this adds credence to the theory that lower
castes emerged from tribal populations. A senior scientist at the centre, Dr Kumarasamy Thangaraj, said
the origin of the caste system in India has been the subject of heated debate among anthropologists and
historians. Many of them had suggested that the caste system began with the arrival of speakers of Indo
European languages from Central Asia about 3,500 years ago. "However, there has been no consensus
on this so far," he added. In the latest study, CCMB scientists analysed the Y-chromosome and
mitochondrial DNA of three tribal populations of southern India and compared the results with the
available data from across the Indian subcontinent. They did not find any significant difference in
mitochondrial DNA among Indian tribal and caste populations. On the other hand, the study of the
Y-chromosome lineage revealed distinct distribution patterns among caste and tribal populations. "The
paternal lineage of Indian lower castes shows closer affinity to the tribal populations than to upper castes,"
said Dr Thangaraj. A significant aspect of the study is that its Y-SNP data provides compelling genetic
evidence for the tribal origin of the lower caste populations. It gives substance to the theory that lower
caste groups may have emerged from hierarchical divisions existing within the tribal groups much before
the arrival of the Aryans. Indo-Europeans may have established themselves as upper castes over this
already developed caste-like class structure within the tribes. Indian society has been subject to multiple
waves of migration in historic and prehistoric times. The first was the ancient Palaeolithic migration by
early humans. This was followed by the early Neolithic migration, probably of proto-Dravidian speakers.
About 3,500 years ago, the Indo-European speakers arrived. "Indian tribal and caste populations emerge
from the genetic heritage of Pleistocene southern and western Asians," said Dr Thangaraj. "At the same
time, the paternal lineage of Indian castes is more closely related to the Central Asians." (Asian Age
K Nagar solution not likely before April (6)
Bhubaneswar : Even though the Visthapan Virodhi Jan Manch has expressed its keenness to hold talks
with the State Government in the wake of the recent Orissa High Court direction for withdrawal of the
yearlong road blockade at Kalinga Nagar, there seems to be a remote possibility of the blockade on
National Highway-200 coming to an end before April. This is indicated in a letter sent by the Jan Manch to
the Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik. The tribal leaders have apparently given a veiled message to the State
administration that they would not lift the road blockade unless their three-point charter of demands are
fulfilled. But the question is that whether the Government could meet the demands to pave the way of
lifting of the blockade. The tribals' demands are: (1) the then District Collector Saswat Mishra and SP
Binaytosh Mishra must be prosecuted. The Government must initiate criminal proceedings against the
officers under Section 302 (murder) of IPC for the killing of 13 tribals. (2) All types of cases against tribals,
including those on murder charges, must be withdrawn. The criminal cases have been filed against more
than 100 people in the wake of the January 2, 2006 police-firing incident, in which the tribals were killed.
(3) The Government at the "highest level" must declare that there should be no more displacement in the
Kalinga Nagar area. However, sources said that the Government is in no mood to fulfil the demands. "This
is because it is impossible to withdraw charges like murder, arson and rioting," said a senior official. This
apart, the Government also cannot initiate proceedings against the then SP and Collector due to the
simple reason that they were asked to ensure the land acquisition and also because a judicial commission
is inquiring into the incident. If the Government starts a dialogue with the agitating tribals in January itself,
it will automatically take some time, at least 15 days, to persuade them not to press for their demands.
This may linger the road blockade lifting process till February. Thereafter, a senior officer pointed out, the
Government cannot spare time because it would remain busy in panchayat polls till March-end. (Pioneer
ST woman's poll papers 'torn by BJD supporters' (6)
Kendrapara : Some BJD supporters on Monday allegedly tore the nomination paper of a Scheduled Tribe
woman, Uma Pata, who was filing her nomination on behalf of the Congress for the post of Panchayat
Samiti member for Chandiagadia Gram Panchayat at Aul block office. The BJD supporters also allegedly
attacked her supporters. According to police sources, as Patra was about to file her candidature, BJD
supporters, allegedly led by Bhisma Mohanty, came to the block office and forcibly took the nomination
paper from her and tore it. District Congress president Debendra Sharma said the post of the Panchayat
Samiti member is reserved for ST women at Chandiagadi GP and Patra was the only candidate. Official
sources, however, said Patra was not allowed to file her paper by the BDO because she arrived late for
filing the nomination. Tension prevailed in the bock office premises as supporters of both parties attacked
each other. Police force was deployed there to avert any untoward incident. Patra, along with Sharma and
her supporters, lodged an FIR at Aul Police Station against the BJD supporters. The police were
conducting an inquiry into matter, but no arrest has been made so far, informed OIC of Aul PS Subash
Panda. The matter has also been brought to the notice of the District Magistrate, SP, the State Election
Commission and the State Government. (Pioneer 16/1/07)
Jharkhand Ministers patronise tradition of cock fights (6)
Ranchi : Cockfight is inextricably associated with the tribal tradition of Jharkhand and even these days it is
a big medium of entertainment. On Sunday two Jharkhand Ministers were busy in cockfight in the steel
city of Jamshedpur. Jharkhand Deputy Chief Minister Sudhir Mahto and Land and Revenue Minister Dulal
Bhuiya were encouraging their fowl to dominate on other and hurt them. They were not cockfight
watchers. Rather they were keeping the cock and pushing them to fight. Mahto was attired in a typical
India politician Dhoti and Kurta and Bhuiya was in trousers and coat. It seems that both the Ministers who
belong to Jharkhand Mukti Morcha (JMM) were easing their tension as their chief Shibu Soren is cooling
his heels in a murder cases. They declined to comment about their interest when media persons queried
about the fight. Cockfighting is a tradition of tribal society for times immemorial. It is popular in many parts
of the State and people take the fight as a big medium of entertainment. They like to watch the method of
attack of the fowl on each other and love and enjoy the injuries caused to the rival fowls. The game ends
when a fowl dies or sustains serious injuries in the fight. In Ramgarh the fight is still part and parcel of
tribal people. Before the final fight the cocks are prepared for it. "Before the scheduled fight we keep the
cock in a dark room for one week. Cocks are kept in dark to ignite their anger. And on the day of fight no
food is served to them so that their anger goes on its peak," said Shivanandan, owner of a cock. He said
"cloves are given to cocks keep them warm. The fight continues till one cock sustains serious injuries or
dies." Owners of these cocks say that the foul which are used for fighting are kept away from the groups.
They are prepared to gain stamina and strength to defeat the opponent. During a fight the sharp knives
are fitted on the legs of the cocks to hurt the opponent. They are taught the ways to attack and to defend
during fight. "I regularly watch cockfights. It gives us immense pleasure and we enjoy the fight. This is our
medium of entertainment," said Ganesh Kumar, a resident of Ramgarh. Animal lovers oppose such fights
but when lawmakers are involved in such fights then who will dare to prevent the game. (Pioneer 16/1/07)
Jharkhand to take up tribal seats issue with PM, President (6)
Ranchi ; The Jharkhand Government has decided to approach Prime Minister Manmohan Singh and
President APJ Abdul Kalam over recommendation of the delimitation commission to reduce the number of
tribal seats in the Assembly. The Delimitation Commission in its recommendation has said that the
reserved tribal seats in Jharkhand Assembly should be reduced to 21 from the existing 28. Leaders
across party lines have agreed to approach the PM and President over the issue and request them not to
implement the recommendation. The leaders of all the political parties are unanimous about the number of
seats but mudslinging has also started on the issue. "Former Chief Minister Arjun Munda had not taken
the issue seriously and he did not feel right to approach the Prime Minister and President over the issue,"
said Chief Minister Madhu Koda. The Tribal Advisory Committee (TAC) meeting held in Ranchi on
Tuesday authorised the Chief Minister to take up the issue with the PM and President. The meeting
expressed concern over the recommendation and demanded that Jharkhand should be given status like
Tripura where the number of reserved seats did not change even if the tribal population goes down. "In
1951 the number of reserved seats in the Assembly was 32, which was reduced to 28 in 1971 and now it
is to be reduce to 21. If this trend continues then in future there will be no reserved seats for the tribal
people," said Koda. The TAC members wanted the same number of reserved seats even if the population
declines. "The recommendation of the Delimitation Commission is a matter of serious concern. A law
should be framed to protect the reserved seats for the tribal people," said former Chief Minister Babulal
Marandi. Taking a dig at his own Government, senior BJP leader Karia Munda said, "I was never
consulted on the issue. A team of Ministers was formed during the NDA regime but what they did I could
not tell." Even BJP tribal legislators are unhappy with their previous Government. "The silence of our two
Chief Ministers caused the problem," said Ramchandra Baitha, a BJP legislator. (Pioneer 18/1/07)
Report recommends withdrawal of Salwa Judum (6)
NEW DELHI: Attributing the significant increase in incidence of violence against women in Chhattisgarh's
Dantewara district to Salwa Judum, the Committee Against Violence On Women (CAVOW) has called for
a review of the Government's counter-insurgency strategy. Salwa Judum was initiated by the Government
in June 2005 as a people's movement against terrorism and naxalism. In a report `Salwa Judum and
Violence on Women in Dantewara', the group has documented cases of violence and abuse against
women in the State. The report, submitted to the National Commission for Women, highlights the
atrocities perpetrated by the Salwa Judum activists. Released here on Thursday by writer-activist
Arundhati Roy, the report points out the absence of health and education facilities in the district. Speaking
at the release function, Ms. Roy said, "This is a disturbing document and the business of setting up
vigilante groups is infusing the country with violence." She criticised the Government's policies and said,
"We are entering an era where we have to become a police or an army state and they will become the
implementers of the great Indian growth rate dream." Ms. Roy was also critical of the Special Economic
Zones being set up and agricultural land being given to corporates at subsidised rates. Referring to the
report, convenor of CAVOW Shoma Sen said, "At the initiation of CAVOW, a team visited the area
between September 30 and November 18, 2006, to investigate the conditions of safety, security, life and
livelihood of tribal women." Claiming that Salwa Judum, which was built for restoring peace in the area has
instead proved to be a violent institution, CAVOW member and researcher Ilina Sen said, "Women have
been raped and molested, dole being given out to people is insufficient, ration does not last for the whole
week, international organisations working out of the area have documented that there is malnutrition and
hunger, minors are being recruited as Special Police Officers and under-trial women in jails are victims of
sexual abuse." Echoing the view that Salwa Judum has failed to deliver, NCW Chairperson Prof. Malini
Bhattacharya said: "Strange things are happening there in the wake of Salwa Judum. Villages are
deserted and whatever little civic amenities are available are in the relief camps, SPOs are underage and
have been alienated from normal life. Though we have no direct evidence of violence against women, our
team met women lodged in prisons who have been abused. These village women claim they have been
accused of having links with naxals." (The Hindu 19/1/07)
Tribals attack two surveyors (6)
Bhubaneswar, Jan. 18: Orissa's steel hub Kalinga Nagar is once again in tur moil. Two people, who
reportedly claimed to be land surveyors appointed by a leading steel firm, were injured as tribals attacked
them on , Wednesday evening. The district administration was not aware of the pres ence of any survey
team in the volatile area. "No prior intimation was given to us. This is a troubled area and the industrial
house concerned is .responsible for such recklessness," said a harried senior district offi cer. There was
utter confu sion over who had engaged the Geo Designers, a survey organisation, to work on land that had
been allotted to Maharashtra Seamless. However, Maharashtra Seamless had abandoned the area after
persistent law and order problems and the same plot was to be allotted to the Tatas. While agitated locals
and the district authorities said the survey ors were working for the Tatas, the company sources insisted
that they too were unaware of the team's pres ence on the spot on Wednes day. The fresh incident, ironically,
comes within 24 hours of a high-level meet ing held on Tuesday in Bhubaneswar where Kalinga
Nagar industrialists had raised issues of law and order and the Orissa govern ment had assured them of a
proper working atmosphere. The Wednesday incident took place when five people reached Kalamatia
village in the Kalinga Nager Industrial Complex area on Wednes day afternoon and started some work,
including alleged blasting of a broken abandoned structure. Hearing noise, people rushed to the spot and
assaulted the survey team. While two of the team sus tained injuries, three others, including driver of the
vehi cle, fled from the spot. (Asian Age 19/1/07)
Naveen calls tribals for dialogue (6)
BHUBANESWAR: Orissa Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik on Wednesday offered to hold talks with the
agitating tribals of Kalinga Nagar, the upcoming industrial hub in Jajpur district of the State. The dialogue
between the Chief Minister and representatives of the Visthapan Virodhi Janmanch will take place on
January 31 "without any pre-condition." The talks will be held at the State Secretariat. The Janmanch has
been continuing with its road blockade agitation on the Daitari-Paradip national highway at Kalinga Nagar
since January 2 last year when 13 tribals were killed in police firing while opposing construction of the
boundary wall for the proposed steel plant of Tata Steel. A letter about Mr. Patnaik's readiness to hold
talks with the Kalinga Nagar tribals was sent from the Chief Minister's Office to Jajpur district Collector
Arabinda Kumar Padhee on Wednesday. Mr. Padhee has been asked to inform about Mr. Patnaik's
decision to the Janmanch leaders. "The Visthapan Virodhi Janmanch is welcome to have discussion on
any issue without any pre-condition," the letter from the Chief Minister's Office said. Secretary of the
Janmanch Rabindra Jarika had earlier written a letter to Mr. Patnaik expressing the organisation's
readiness for a meaningful and sincere discussion that could lead to an "appropriate settlement of the
issue." Expressing apprehension that the district administration may resort to use of force for lifting the
road blockade in view of the recent High Court order asking the government to put an end to the
roadblock agitation, Mr. Jarika had warned that the authorities should not take any step that would make
the people lose their faith in the government. (The Hindu 25/1/07)
Jailed tribal leader's wife cries foul (6)
Koraput: "My husband is not a naxalite," says Nachika Tikai, wife of Nachika Linga. Leader of Chasi Muli,
an organisation fighting for the land rights of tribals at Podapadar panchayat in Narayanapatna block of
Koraput district, Nachika Linga was arrested by the police on the charge of having connections with
naxalites, she told a team of journalists at Podapadar. "Being a leader of the masses, landlords perceived
threat from him," she said, and added that he was only part of the movement creating awareness among
people on land rights. Rabindra Linga, the 10-year-old son of Nachika Linga, pleaded for release of his
father. (The Hindu 25/1/07)
Panel frowns at neglect of tribals (6)
THIRUVANANTHAPURAM: Scheduled Tribes Commission chairperson Kunwar Singh has taken
exception to what he terms relative neglect of Scheduled Tribes by the State Government. Mr. Singh, who
visited tribal hamlets in different parts of Kerala, told a news conference here on Wednesday that the
benefits of various welfare schemes meant for Scheduled Tribes were not reaching the target group. He
had visited Kerala under the impression that being highly literate, the State might be providing better
protection to the tribal population as compared to other parts of India, but he had found the situation in the
hamlets deplorable, Mr. Kunwar Singh said. He said the tribal hamlets were lacking in proper medical
facilities, drinking water supply, power and roads. Many of the tribes were finding it difficult to cultivate in
their lands as the land they had in possession was not cultivable. There was also large-scale alienation of
tribal lands. On top of all this, the Government had imposed taxes on them. The Government should
devise schemes for better land utilisation by the tribal population and to provide more credit to them from
the cooperative sector, he said. Mr. Kunwar Singh pointed out that even students from Scheduled Tribes
with high marks in the qualifying examinations were not getting adequate number of seats for MBBS
courses as the cut-off marks of entrance examinations had been fixed at a higher level. The Madhya
Pradesh Government had lowered the cut-off mark of entrance examinations in the case of Scheduled
Tribes. Kerala could also examine whether this could be done, he added. He regretted the failure of
representatives of several State departments to attend the review meeting he had convened to discuss
the problems faced by the Scheduled Tribes. Although all the departments were supposed to send their
representatives to the meeting, only Tribal, Health and Excise Departments were represented at the
meeting. This showed the attitude of the bureaucracy towards the problems of the Scheduled Tribes, Mr.
Kunwar Singh said. (The Hindu 25/1/07)
Tribals agree to come for talks (6)
BHUBANESWAR: The agitating tribals of Kalinga Nagar on Saturday decided to hold a formal dialogue
with Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik on January 31. The decision was taken at a meeting of the Visthapan
Virodhi Janmanch, the organisation that has been spearheading the agitation since January 2 last year.
However, sources in official circles said the Janmanch leaders might take a rigid stand on their demands
when they finally come for discussion and the dialogue may not achieve the expected results. But Jajpur
district Collector Arabinda Kumar Padhee said the administration was hopeful of a peaceful resolution of
the issue. "We are expecting a positive outcome," he said. The Janmanch had earlier written a letter to
Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik expressing its willingness to hold talks with the government at the highest
political level in the wake of a High Court order directing the government to remove the road blockade on
Daitari-Paradip highway near Kalinga Nagar. Responding to the Janmanch offer, the Chief Minister's
Office had written a letter through the district Collector that Mr. Patnaik was ready to hold dialogue to put
an end to the agitation. The Janmanch had been continuing with the road blockade agitation since 13
tribals were killed in police firing last year while opposing construction of a boundary wall for a proposed
steel of Tata Steel. (The Hindu 28/1/07)
Minister visits Adivasi Mela (6)
Bhubaneswar : Good sense at last prevails on SC and ST Minister Chaitanyaa Prasad Majhi. On Monday,
he visited the all the stalls at the Adivasi Mela. Majhi went there at afternoon and moved around all the
stalls for around one and half hour. Sources said as Majhi did not go the stall on the inaugural day on the
Republic Day, tribals expressed their resentment. It is a customary that the SC and ST Minister should
visit all the stalls and encourage the tribals, who have come form far-flung areas to the State Capital to
show case their rich culture and tradition. The tribals also gifted some items to the ministers. Majhi also
purchased some items from the Adivasi Mela. (Pioneer 30/1/07)
Miscarriage, stillbirths after uranium mining (6)
Jadugoda (Jharkhand), Jan. 29: Several hundred adivasis in Jharkhand are reportedly paying an
extremely heavy price for India's nuclear ambitions. A visit to Jadugoda village, 35 km from the steel city
of Jamshedpur, in Jharkhand's East Singhbhum district makes that evident. In Jadugoda, home of the
country's first uranium mine, where the Uranium Corporation of India Ltd (UCIL) started mining in 1967,
almost each and every family is suffering from mental and physical disorders of one or the other kind.
Women over 30 are about to turn barren. An extensive study conducted by the Jharkhand Organisation
Against Radiation (JOAR) a few years back, one of the few such exercises to be conducted in the tribal
heartland, threw up hair-raising figures. Some 47 per cent of women living close to the uranium mines
reported disruptions in their menstrual cycle while another 18 per cent adivasi women had sudden
miscarriages and stillbirths. It was also reported that around 30 per cent of adivasis reported some sort of
problem in conception, while a majority of local women complained of fatigue, weakness and depression.
Children are next. Five-year-old Gudiya is one of the "victims" of radiation. Managing to come out of her
mother's womb alive, after her mother had five miscarriages, Gudiya now cannot walk and cannot talk.
Her limbs are distorted and she is mentally challenged. "This is not just the tale of my daughter, there are
many children in the village who have met the same fate," says Mangal, the girl's father. Subsequent
surveys by a few other NGOs also claim that children living in more than two dozen villages surrounding
the uranium mines have also shown signs of mutation. While walking through the narrow lanes in this
tribal-dominated village, one can easily spot children with twisted limbs and mutilated body parts sitting on
the lap of their mother, quietly and curiously looking at every stranger passing by. Even the adults are
hesitant to mix freely with "outsiders", specially when someone asks what had happened to their child.
According to a rough estimate, UCIL, which is under the department of atomic energy, acquired 2,000
acres of land at Jadugoda and established a township, displacing five villages. According to the 1961
census, the total population of these villages was 2,047, of whom 47.1 per cent were tribals. Many
indigenous tribal families have also been displaced from their ancestral land owing to the construction of
mines and mills in nearby Bhatin, Turamdih and Narwapahar. Bapi Da, a local activist leading the
campaign against health hazards, says: "Not only women and children, but the workers who get into the
mines to dig out uranium ore and man the tailing ponds where the waste generated from the mills is
dumped suffer from serious ailments like bone, blood and kidney disorders, brain damage and nausea."
According to him, the kit to measure the effect of radiation on the bodies of workers, which UCIL used to
be provide to every worker earlier, was later taken away; and the medical records of workers who fall ill
and get admitted to the hospital run by the corporation are kept secret. (Asian Age 30/1/07)
180 people reconverted to Hinduism (6)
Bhubaneswar : Keeping an eye on the third World Hindu Religious Conference, which will begin on
February 11 in Allahabad, the State unit of the Vishwa Hindu Parishad on Monday reconverted at least
180 people from 50 families to Hinduism under the Bonai Police Station area in Sundargarh district.
According to VHP sources here, all the families were reconverted amidst performing of traditional Hindu
rituals at the Jagyan site, where several VHP leaders were present. Early in January 2006, nearly 136
tribals were reconverted to Hinduism at a function organised by the local unit of the VHP and the Bajarang
Dal at a remote village in Tumbei under Gurundia police station in Sundargarh. It was again followed by
reconverting at least 336 persons of 80 tribal families in 11 villages under Sundargarh district at a special
function in Baridia last October. Similarly, at least 73 persons from 17 families in Rourkela on the occasion
of Kartik Purnima were reconverted into Hinduism. On October 24, 2004, 300 Tribal Christians were
reconverted to Hinduism in Sundargarh district. According to a statistics, more than 8,000 people were
reconverted in 2006 while Parishad has planned to strengthen its women wing Durga Bahini and youth
wing Bajarang Dal. Besides it has also decided to carry out more reconversion activities in the tribal
dominated regions of the State, where conversion is a war between the Christian Missionaries and
Sangha Pariwar. Meanwhile VHP sources admitted that the reconversion is on the active agenda in
Sundergarh district. "We are planning to do it more intensively and in a well-coordinated manner," VHP
insiders said. In the past four years, more than 2,000 tribals have gone through the process of "home
coming". "They are not Christians but they are Hindus in fact and don't call it conversion as we are just
bringing them back to the fold of their ancestors' religion," argued VHP activists. (Pioneer 30/1/07)
Kalinga tribals to meet CM to end stalemate today (6)
Jajpur : A 17-member team of the Visthapan Virodhi Janmanch will meet Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik
on Wednesday at the State Secretariat to discuss the Kalinga Nagar issue. The rift among the activists of
the Visthapan Virodhi Janmanch, on Tuesday was amicably settled after a long meeting at Ambagadia. An
emergency meeting was called to discuss the issue over the Chief Minister's invitation to end the
stalemate in Kalinga Nagar that has been continuing over the last one year. In the meeting, there was an
angry exchange of words between two factions after Janmanch Secretary, Rabindra Jarika said he had
not given any statement on the action of political parties who stood by the tribals during the agitation. He
also said that his signature on the Press release issued by the CPI (ML), New Democratic leaders, was
false. Responding to the Chief Minister's invitation, Janmanch submitted a list of 17 members to the Jajpur
collector for tomorrow's meeting at the State Secretariat. However, five members out of the list under the
leadership of the president of the outfit were threatening to boycott the meeting. Janmanch president,
Chakradhar Haiburu (senior) said that he and many of its members have decided to boycott the meeting
over the alleged remarks on political parties who stood by the tribals during the agitation. In an exclusive
interview, Janmanch President, Haiburu (senior) said, "Janmanch has been formed for the interest of the
agitating tribals fighting against industrialisation. We are leading the outfit on behalf of them. The innocent
tribals have reposed faith in us. Without consulting them we must not say any thing publicly."He further
said "As I am ill following a minor operation, names of all office bearers and executive members of the
Janmanch except me are included in the 17 member list". It may be noted that only few days ago
Janmanch secretary, Rabindra Jarika in association with CPI (ML) and New Democracy leaders had
termed the Congress as well as Left parties as enemies and equating them with the ruling BJD-BJP
coalition. (Pioneer 31/1/07)
Allot pattas to tribals, demands Jamuna Devi (6)
Bhopal : Leader of Opposition Jamuna Devi said on Monday that the Madhya Pradesh Government would
no longer displace the tribals after the passing of the Tribal Bill, 2006. She urged the Chief Minister to allot
patta to the displaced people from the forestlands. She also informed that the Central Government would
soon issue an Ordinance in this respect. Jamuna Devi also congratulated Prime Minister Manmohan
Singh and Congress president Sonia Gandhi for constituting the Act in favour of the tribals. In a letter to
the CM, she also asked the State Government to allot pattas to those tribals who were displaced after
1980. She asked the CM to take back the cases pending in the High Court against the tribals for
unlawfully capturing the forestlands.She sent the document of the Act to the party presidents of district
and block levels asking them to generate awareness among the tribals regarding the 'historical' act for
them so that the State Government can't mislead them any more. (Pioneer 6/2/07)
Tribals protest against SC order
Jaipur, Feb. 7: Tension prevailed in Rishabdeo town of Udaipur district on Wednesday when tribals
assembled to claim Risabdeo temple. The police resorted to lathicharge and lobbed teargas shells to
disperse the mob. Over 20 people, most of them policemen, were injured in stone-pelting. The tribals
agitated when they heard that the temple would be handed over to the Jain community following a court
order, though the Jain community clarified that it would maintain the existing management system and
tribals would be free to offer prayers the way they used to in the past. According to sources, the tribals on
Wednesday used the traditional system of beating drums, also considered an emergency call for
assembling for action. The tribals, armed with arrows and stones, then descended over the town and
clashed with the police. The violent mob went on the rampage and three vehicles, including a car, were
put on fire. The police opened fire in the air to control the mob and staged a flag march in the town. "The
situation is under control and an additional police force has been deployed in the area," said Mr Rajiv
Dasot, inspector-general of police, Udaipur. (Asian Age 8/2/07)
Five injured in police firing in Udaipur (6)
JAIPUR: Five persons were injured on Thursday in police firing as tribals continued their protest against
the handing over of its principle temple to the Jain community in Rishabhdeo town in Udaipur district.
Police had to open fire when over 5,000 tribals tried to enter the Kesariaji temple. The situation has been
tense since Wednesday when a `mahapadav' was organised by the tribals. Over 30 people, mostly
policemen, including the Udaipur SP M.N. Dinesh were injured on Wednesday when the protesters pelted
stones, torched two-wheelers and cars parked in the temple area and held up traffic for several hours.
Two Rajasthan Armed Constable companies and two Rajasthan Police companies have been deployed in
the area to maintain law and order, Mr. Dinesh told PTI over phone. Police used teargas to disperse the
tribals who pelted stones at them. So far 26 people have been detained by the police, Mr. Dinesh said.
The tribals, who worship the temple's presiding deity as "Kala Baba," are irked over a Supreme Court
ruling last month transferring the ownership rights of the ancient temple to the Jain community. (The Hindu
Rajasthan town tense after 1 killed in temple violence (6)
Jaipur, February 9: A day after one person was killed and seven injured in clashes between tribals and the
police over the Supreme Court's granting of an ancient temple to the Jain community, the town of
Rishabdeo was tense for a third consecutive day on Friday with stone-pelting protestors torching a shop in
the nearby village of Kalyanpur. Tribals in Rishabdeo in Udaipur district had yesterday tried to forcibly
enter the 15th century Kesariaji temple, a popular Jain pilgrimage site, saying the Supreme Court's order
in January to hand over the temple administration to the Jain community would restrict their access to the
temple whose deity they worship as 'Kala Baba'. As hundreds of tribals tried to force their way into the
temple, police opened fire, killing one person and leaving seven injured. On Wednesday, the tribals held a
'mahapadav' and went on to torch vehicles parked outside the temple, pelting stones at the police. Over
30 people, mainly policemen, were injured in the melee. Rajiv Dasot, IG Udaipur Range, said a
peace-committee of Jain and tribal representatives along with political leaders and local administrative and
police officers met on Thursday midnight and agreed to maintain peace. District Collector Shikhar Agarwal
said the situation is now under control. "Tension prevailed on Friday but there has not been any major
incidence of violence since Thursday evening. Most tribals, who had gathered here from nearby villages,
have returned to their homes. The army remains on a stand by while extra police force has been
deployed," Agarwal said. (Indian Express 10/2/07)
Security personnel charged with rape in C'garh; probe on (6)
Raipur, February 10 : A trbal woman was allegedly gangraped by India Reserve Battalion personnel from
Mizoram deployed in the Naxal-affected Dantewada area of Chhattisgarh. This comes within weeks of the
National Commission for Women expressing concern at the increase in atrocities against tribals caught
between Naxalites and security forces. The incident allegedly occurred on February 3 but it was brought to
light only after tribal rights activists made representations before Dantewada Collector K R Pisda and
Superintendent of Police O P Pal on Friday. Pisda said an SP level inquiry had been ordered into the
incident. "A medical test of the victim will be conducted soon," he added. According to the complaint, the
incident occurred on the evening of February 3 when the victim was on her way home from a shop in
Nakulnaar village. "Three or four jawans of the Mizo battalion caught her and took her to a desolate place
where they raped her," it says. The victim was gagged and beaten unconscious, sources said, leading to
severe back and abdominal injuries. Adivasi Mahasabha Mahila Morcha secretary Bimla Sori, who filed a
complaint with the police, said: "The police refused to register a case when the family members of the
victim went to lodge a complaint. They even suggested that the family opt for a compromise," Morcha
vice-president Kusum Naam said. Dantewada SP Pal claimed that it was a case of altercation being
distorted by local leaders for political mileage. "The victim was selling liquor in the weekly haat. The Mizo
police personnel had an altercation with her as she wanted more money for the liquor. How is it possible to
rape someone on the day of the haat when hundreds of people are present in the village?" he said. (Indian
Express 11/2/07)
Tribals indifferent to campaigning (6)
MEDINIPUR SQUARE (Ganjam district): Manifestoes and promises are just eyewash. This seems to be
the strong belief of even inhabitants of rural pockets. The Medinipur Square is the connecting point for
tribal villages Tamana, Medinipur, Singabadi, Sihala and Scheduled Caste dominated village Jugudi. The
high-decibel campaign with catchy slogans and racy numbers seems to have not evoked any interest in
the region. "We will exercise our franchise. But, we know for sure that the candidates will not take up the
issues they are raking up now for the sake of votes," say several persons while enjoying a meal at a
roadside shop. Bijay Pradhan of Tamana cites the case of Ghatakeswar small-irrigation project, which is a
long-standing demand. "Foundation stone for the project was laid three times by leaders with much
fanfare. But it is yet to materialise," he says. Jagannath Behera, who contested on BJP ticket in the last
elections and campaigning for the BJD now, intervenes saying: "We will submit a memorandum to the
Chief Minister over the matter when he comes to Lathi village." Panchayat elections are won through
personal relations rather than tall promises, says the driver of a Congress campaign vehicle. While
campaigning was on at this square, tribals of Tamana village just a few km away were busy with their
day-to-day chores. (The Hindu 11/2/07)
Gehlot blames Raje for Rishabdev violence (6)
JAIPUR: Congress general secretary Ashok Gehlot has held Chief Minister Vasundhara Raje "directly"
responsible for the developments that led to violence and the death of a tribal in police firing in Rishabdev
town last week. "If the Chief Minister had timely monitored the implementation of the Supreme Court order
on the management of the Rishabdev temple, the unfortunate situation would not have arisen," he said.
Mr.Gehlot, who visited the affected areas on Monday, said the situation there was indicative of the
prevailing anarchy in Rajasthan during the past three weeks in which the State Cabinet had been fighting
the Chief Minister singularly and in groups. "The Ministers are openly levelling charges of corruption,
deceit and moral turpitude against one another. They have no time to govern after their preoccupations.
The people are paying a heavy price for their squabbles," he said. Mr.Gehlot said the BJP-led
Government, with a bloody track record of 10 instances of police firing in three years in which 17 persons
were killed, had breached the age-old harmony among the tribals, the members of the Jain community
and the rest of the Hindus in Rishabdev area. "The BJP rule has fragmented the social fabric of
Rajasthan," he charged. (The Hindu 15/2/07)
Panel to frame rules for Forest Rights Bill implementation (6)
NEW DELHI: The Union Tribal Affairs Ministry has set up a committee to frame rules for the
implementation of the Scheduled Tribes and Other Traditional Forest Dwellers (Recognition of Forest
Rights) Act, 2006. The 19-member committee, headed by retired bureaucrat S.R. Sankaran, has been
asked to submit its draft report within three months. The finalisation of the report would take another
month before it was actually implemented, Union Tribal Affairs Secretary Meena Gupta told reporters here
on Monday. The committee members include officials from the Ministries of Tribal Affairs, Forests and
Environment, Rural Development and Panchayati Raj besides representatives of some State
Governments and experts. The Forest Rights Bill was passed in the winter session of Parliament and
received the President's assent on December 29, 2006. The Act recognises and vests the forest rights
and occupation in forest land in forest dwelling Scheduled Tribes and other traditional forest dwellers who
have been residing in such forests for generations but whose rights could not be recorded. In this context,
the Ministry has convened a meeting of the State Ministers in charge of tribal affairs on Wednesday. Also,
the Ministry is finalising the National Tribal Policy and it is shortly expected to go to the Cabinet for
approval. The Ministry has revived its Tribal Sub-Plan that had fallen into disuse over the years due to lack
of implementation by the State Governments. The States have been asked to create a separate head for
the Tribal Sub-Plan — first started in 1974 — so that funds under this cannot be diverted. According to
Ms. Gupta the Ministry will also develop over 2,700 forest villages and an amount of Rs. 15 lakh per
village has been earmarked for the purpose. As many as 13 States will be covered under this scheme that
seeks to provide roads, electricity and water for these villages. .Further, the Ministry has also decided to
involve banks in disbursing loans to the tribals for income generation under the National Scheduled Tribes
Finance and Development Corporation which was earlier done only through the State Scheduled Tribe
Finances Corporation, and often faced blockages due to shortage of funds. (The Hindu 14/2/07)
Anantapur tribals decry felling of trees (6)
Bhubaneswar : Tribals at the Anantapur forest reserve in Dhenkanal district are taking up arms against
forest officials for the felling of 800 young and healthy trees. The tribals from Khajurinali and Chauliajharan
hamlets have decided not to allow any logs to be removed till a proper inquiry is ordered into what they
allege is illegal felling. They say the forest officials have threatened them with dire consequences. "The
officials told us that there's no proof that we are legal settlers. They said they will carry the logs and then
file cases and send us all to jail," said Ramchandra Murmu, a local. The tribals also say that in the past
they have been jailed for crimes committed by the timber mafia. "A similar thing happened years ago when
the officials felled trees but filed cases for illegal felling against us," said Fagu Soren. A strict ban has
been imposed on felling of trees in the State's forests for the past 16 years. The forest department was
given a temporary permission in 2005-06 to cut a limited number of damaged and diseased trees and
working plans were drawn up for 11 Forest Divisions. However, activists say the working plans were
completely ignored. "The Government spends so much money on forest conservation and takes huge
loans from the World Bank," said Akshay Pani, Coordinator, Adivasi Kranti Sangathan. "In principle, a
forest so well protected by local tribals should not have been touched. Secondly, the norms for felling have
been violated by the forest department." Despite repeated attempts, the Dhenkanal District Forest Officer
and Manager of the Forest Development Corporation refused to give their reaction on the matter. But it's
clear that as the tribals wait for the State Government to institute an inquiry, their anger is rising with each
passing day. Pioneer 14/2/07)
Tribal land grab cases on rise in Jharkhand (6)
Ranchi : Jharkhand tribals are facing challenges from different corners. Their problem is evident from the
fact that their population is declining in the State while their land is grabbed in their homeland.
Anthropologists and social scientists are concerned about the declining population of tribals in general and
primitive tribes in particular. The tribal population has declined to 27 per cent in the State from 42 per cent
in 1951. The impact of the declining population trend is seen on the reserved seats of Assembly
constituencies. The Delimitation Commission has recommended decrease the reserved tribal seats in
Assembly from 28 to 21. The number of cases lodged by tribal people indicates that land grabbing by
non-tribals increased manifolds after creation of the State. The cases lodged under Special Area
Regulation Court (SPRC) have increased. In 2003-2004 a total of 2,608 cases were registered which went
up to 2,657 cases in 2004-2005. A total of 3,230 cases were registered in 2005-2006 and in 2006-2007 till
January this year the figure is 3,789. Tribal people lodge their cases under SPRC. The SPR court hears
the cases and fines people who are found guilty of land grabbing. If anyone has made construction on the
tribal plot then the court slaps a fine, which is given to the original owner (tribal). Two laws are in force to
protect the land rights of tribal people in the State -Chotanagpur Tenancy Act and Santhal Parangan
Tenancy Act. Both Acts prevent sale of tribal land to non-tribals. "It is a game of money. Those who are
poor have no say in politics and they remain neglected and downtrodden and same is the case with tribal
people. Heavens were promised to tribal people before creation of the State and now their voices have
been crushed. Those who never participated in the Jharkhand movement are the ones who rule the State
now. And the poor (tribal) never figured in their agenda," said father Benni Ekka, director of St Xavier
Institute of Social Service. (Pioneer 14/2/07)
Minister seeks quota for tribals in jobs (6)
New Delhi : The Minister for Tribal Welfare Kunwar Vijay Shah put forward a demand of reservation in
jobs for the tribals of Madhya Pradesh in proportion to their population in central services in the
'Conference of States Ministers incharge of Tribal Welfare Development' at New Delhi on Wednesday. He
also made a fervent plea for early approval of the proposed projects pending before the Union
Government as well as release of maximum funds for the welfare of tribals of the State. The schemes
being implemented by the State Government for the welfare of the tribals were lauded in the meeting. The
ministers of tribal welfare of various States attended the meeting presided over by the Union Minister for
Tribal Affairs PR Kindiya. Drawing attention of the Union Minister towards the fact that Madhya Pradesh
has a very little representation in the central services despite 20 per cent of the population is covered by
the tribals, Kunwar Shah stressed that Madhya Pradesh tribals should get proper representation in the
central services. He further mentioned that special focus should be laid while posting tribal officers in
Madhya Pradesh under the administrative services and Indian Police Services. There is no tribal battalion
under the defence department, although tribal population constitutes 8.2 per cent of the total population of
the country. Several tribal freedom fighters have sacrificed their lives in the freedom struggle. (Pioneer
Tata gets additional 1,079 acres of land at K Nagar (6)
Bhubaneswar : Tata Steel, which had asked for an additional 1,079 acres in Kalinga
Nagar, is now happy with the State Government's decision to meet its requirement. For
the last three years, the country's largest private sector steel producer had been trying
to set up its six-million-tonne-per-annum (MTPA) steel plant in the face of the tribal
resistance. The company had signed a memorandum of understanding (MoU) with the
State Government on November 17, 2004 to set up the greenfield project. On January
2, 2006, 13 tribals opposing the land acquisition were killed in police firing. Since then,
the company has not been able to take up any major construction job in the area. Even
though the company has not been able to bring under its control the 2,400 acres for its
original steel facility, it in the meanwhile, asked the Government to allot an additional
1,079 acres to facilitate downstream industries, which are likely to come up at an
investment of Rs 3,300 crore. The downstream industries include cold-rolled products,
colour coated sheets and spiral welded pipes. The proposal was okayed at the recent
meeting of the State Level Single Window Clearance Authority (SLSWCA), said official
sources. Sources said that there was a hitch over the allotment of land because Jindal
Stainless Limited has also asked for an additional 400 acres adjacent to its project to
upgrade the 1.6-MTPA stainless steel plant to a 3.2-MTPA integrated steel project at
Kalinga Nagar. The SLSWA, however, decided to allot additional land to both the
companies to meet their requirements. Over and above the request for the additional
land, Tata Steel has also requested the Government to modify the MoU, which earlier
envisaged an investment of Rs 15,400 crore in the steel project. According to sources,
the Government has given the green signal in this regard and the MoU would be
modified soon. With this modification, an investment to the tune of Rs 18,700 crore by
Tata Steel in Kalinga Nagar gets the nod from the Government, admitted sources.
(Pioneer 20/2/07)
Koraput tribal group receives national award for plant protection (6)
Bhubaneswar : Panchavati Gramya Unnayana Samiti, an organisation of the tribal
farming communities of Koraput district has been selected for the Genome Saviour
Award for the protection of plant variety and Farmers Rights Authority (PP&FR) of the
Government of India. The Award is instituted under the PPV&FR Act to recognise and
reward communities and farmers for their contribution to genetic resources
conservation and improvement. The tribal community of Koraput has been elected for
this recognition for their outstanding and seminal contribution to conservation of plant
genetic resources particularly rice, in the biodiversity rich centres of South Orissa. The
Community representative of Koraput will receive the Award from the Union Agriculture
Minister Sharad Pawar at a glittering function in New Delhi on February 20. Chennai
based MS Swaminathan Research Foundation has been assisting the tribal
communities of Koraput for undertaking conservation of traditional rice . (Pioneer
Rajasthan to create separate cadre for tribal development (6)
JAIPUR: The Rajasthan Government is considering establishing a separate
departmental cadre in the Tribal Area Development (TAD) Department to ensure
effective implementation of various projects and their completion on time. This will also
solve the problem of vacant posts in the department without fresh recruitments for long.
TAD Minister Kanakmal Katara, stating this while addressing a meeting of the
Scheduled Tribes Consultative Council in Udaipur on Monday, said attempts were
being made to utilise entire funds received in the Scheduled Tribes welfare head. He
said the works in the tribal areas were executed this year by using 15 per cent more
funds in comparison with last year. Mr. Katara said the works in the tribal areas were
presently being implemented through other departments in the absence of an executing
agency of the TAD Department. The method of execution will change with the creation
of a departmental cadre. The Minister, who released a booklet titled "Janjati Vikas"
(development of tribes) on the occasion, said the State Government had taken steps to
speed up development of the tribal-dominated regions by constructing roads, installing
hand pumps, reviving irrigation schemes and opening more schools. Mr. Katara said
the quality of education in residential schools would be improved to benefit the tribal
children and tribal fishermen of Jaisamand and Kadana areas would be provided
assistance. (The Hindu 21/2/07)
Bihar tribal women allegedly raped in UP village, nine arrested (6)
LUCKNOW, BALLIA, FEBRUARY 23 : Thirteen tribal women, including three minors, were allegedly
gang-raped late Wednesday night by a group of unidentified youths at a brick kiln in eastern UP's Ballia
district. The incident came to light on Thursday when BJP MLA Ram Iqbal Singh informed the police of it.
The Bhimpur circle police have arrested nine persons, including the kiln's owner and a clerk, and
recovered a large quantity of country-made liquor from the spot. An illegal distillery of country-made liquor
was being run from the kiln premises. "We had sent the women for medical examination and the report is
awaited," said Aqramul Haq, the SP of Ballia. Dr Yog Maya Trivedi, the chief medical superintendent of
local Mahila Hospital, said the medical examination had been completed and confirmed that "some
women were found to have been raped". She did not say how many. "Medical examinations on the minors
were also conducted," she said. "We are making arrangements to send these tribal women to their native
places in Bihar once the examination are over," said Haq. According to one of the victims, about 20 drunk
youths came to the brick kiln — run by a local businessman Guddu Singh — around 11.20 pm on
Wednesday night wearing masks and started molesting the women sleeping in their mud houses. When
the women's relatives objected, a brawl broke out ending in the alleged rape of the 13 women. "They
threw our belongings and children out of the houses, beat up our men and raped me and other women,"
one of the victims told the The Indian Express. "When we came to know about the incident Thursday
afternoon, we immediately sent a team to the site," said SP Haq. This morning, clerk Arun Kumar Singh
lodged an FIR. (Indian Express 24/2/07)
'Tribals are aware of traditions' (6)
Udaipur : The historic Lake City of Udaipur on Sunday witnessed one of the biggest congregations of
Adivasis, who gathered here to assert that they were very much a part of Hindus and all attempts to divide
them would be foiled. Organised by Rajasthan Vanvasi Kalayan Parishad of Sangh Parivar, the
congregation named as Rashtra Shakti Sammelan, was attended by about a lakh Adivasis of this
tribal-dominated southern part of Rajasthan. The venue, Maharana Bhopal Stadium was packed with
Advasis who had come in their colourful best costumes from the districts like Banswara, Dungarpur,
Chittorgarh, Slumber and Rajasamand. RSS Sarsanghchalak KC Sudarshan, as main speaker, said that
some Christian organisations are engaged in misleading the innocent tribals that they are not the part of
Hinduism and are trying to persuade them to convert to Christianity. "But they would not succeed in the
nefarious designs as there was now awareness among the tribals about their religion and traditions," he
said. The Rashtra Shakti Sammelan was organised as a part of birth centenary celebration of RSS
Sarsanghchalal MS Golwalkar affectionately called Shri Guruji. The Parishad was preparing for the
congregation for the past many months. Sudarshan lauded the work of Parishad in this tribal populated
part of the State, which, he says, is the next target of missionary organisations, who are trying their best to
get their foothold here. (Pioneer 26/2/07)
Jharsuguda: Tribal families lose land without getting any compensation (6)
Jharsuguda : For the people of Jharsuguda, displacement has been a part of life. It
started with the first post-Independence multi-crore project, the Hirakud Dam in 1947
and continues till date. This has pushed the people not only to a future of uncertainty
but has forced upon them untold sufferings, with the landless people (Sukhbasis), who
have been enjoying Government land, having to part with the land with no benefits
coming forward to keep their kitchen fire burning. And the latest in the long list of the
ousted landless are 11 tribal families who are threatened with destitution by alumina
major Vedanta's proposed 2,50,000-tonne smelter plant and a thermal power plant by
Sterlite in the villages of Burkhamunda and Brundamal, respectively, in the district. It
was in 1974, during the then Chief Minister Nandini Satpathy's regime, that landless
Timen Bhue, Chanchal Bhue, Parsuram Bhue, Tulishram Kheti and Bhubaneswar Kheti
of village Banjari were given Government land. They were even issued with Records of
Right (Patta) duly recorded in the Hamid Settlement. And they enjoyed the fruits of it,
being unaware that the land subsequently had been recorded back as Government
land during the Major Settlement. This, despite the fact that mutation of the land was
pending since long. Meanwhile, Vedanta Alumina Limited (VAL) applied for land for
their proposed projects and, accordingly, IDCO sought for alienation of 59.96 acres of
Government land under Banjari revenue village for the proposed plant. While 24.48
acres of land has already been transferred to VAL, the Revenue Department has given
permissive possession 24.83 acres of the balance land to IDCO. Surprisingly, these
lands include the land of those poor on whom CM Nandini Satpathy had bestowed
largesse. Although these tribals put forth their grievances during acquisition of the lands
by the Revenue Department in 2004 to the Jharsuguda Tehsildar, it has been two long
years and their fate hangs in balance, with the officials sitting over the matter. And for
these tribals, it now seems to be a case of 'justice delayed is justice denied.' The
situation is no better for those who were given ceiling-surplus land to eke out a living.
They have been rendered landless again, with VAL dumping soil on their little patches
of land, which has been alienated with least thought for them. Now, all of them seem to
be caught between the deep sea and the devil. They neither can opt to develop the
land nor can leave it, as it would snatch their livelihood from them. Moreover, with their
voices too feeble to be heard and not enough resources at their disposal to knock the
doors of the courts, they today just stand as mute spectators. And with records
reflecting the land they have been living on is Government's, it is for sure that they will
be deprived of both compensation and any financial benefits that may keep them going.
But even though this concern was raised at the last RPDAC meeting held on October 9
last year, the big question is: Will justice ever be delivered to these tribals in the usual
process of law? (Pioneer 27/2/07)
Big package for Gujarat tribals announced (6)
GANDHINAGAR: Gujarat Chief Minister Narendra Modi on Tuesday announced a
Rs.15,000-crore package for the all-round development of tribals in the State. Making a
statement in the Assembly here, Mr. Modi said the "Vanbandhu Kalyan Yojana" would
be implemented in the next five years along with the 11th five-year plan to improve the
financial, educational and social standards of the Scheduled Tribes. He claimed that
while the State spent about Rs.6,500 croreunder the various tribal sub-plans in 27 years
since 1974, in the last five years the allocations under the tribal sub-plan was raised to
Rs.6,000 crore. But even this was not sufficient for the all-round development of the
neglected tribals who constitute about 15 per cent of the population spread over 43
talukas in the State. He said in a bid to reflect the aspirations of the tribals, his
government decided to formulate a separate scheme for their development. Claiming
that the yojana would become a "trend-setter" in the country, Mr. Modi also announced
a 10-point programme for the implementation of the scheme. Among the programmes
announced were opening job-oriented schemes in the tribal areas to help double their
income, offering educational facilities in all tribal areas for their children, laying pipeline
to connect all tribal villages for drinking water supply, providing necessary assistance to
encourage tribal farmers to shift to drip irrigation, providing houses for all homeless
tribals, electrification of the houses of poor tribals at the government's cost and
all-weather road links to all tribal villages. (The Hindu 28/2/07)
Tribals enjoy the fruits of a life insured (6)
BERHAMPUR : Tribals, especially their women folk in remote areas of Gajapati district
have started to experience benefits of group insurance schemes. Balaji Sabar of
Badamasingi village of Kainpur panchayat under Rayagada block had never expected
his wife would help him financially even after her death. Balaji has received Rs.20,000
as death claim following the death of his wife, who had got enrolled in the Janashree
Bima Yojana of the Life Insurance Corporation. It is again the women Self Help Groups
(SHG) in tribal villages that have taken the lead. In Rayagada block 968 members of 80
women SHGs have enrolled their names in the `Janashree Bima Yojana' scheme
paying yearly premium of Rs.100 for each member since 2004. As members of this
group insurance scheme these women are also getting extra benefit of the `Sikshya
Sahyog Yojana' that is part and parcel of their group insurance scheme. Under this
scheme children of policy holders reading from class ninth to +2 get a scholarship of
RS.100 per month. Rambhi Guru of Gandahati village, whose son is reading in class X
is benefiting from it feels it is a great help for her son to pursue studies. "I was
overwhelmed when I came to know Rs.100 rupees invested by me would beget
Rs.1,200 per year for my son's education," she said. D. Jagannath Raju, president of
an NGO, Society for Welfare of Weaker Section (SWWS), which had motivated the
women SHGs to opt for group insurance schemes said women especially in tribal areas
are the real homemakers. Once they start understanding the benefits of a scheme it
easily percolates through to the general public. (The Hindu 28/2/07)
Rs 15,000 cr for Gujarat tribal development (6)
GANDHINAGAR, FEb 28: In a step apparently aimed at countering Congress' thrust in the tribal region of
the State, Chief Minister Narendra Modi unveiled a grand Rs 15,000 crore plan for tribal development, in
the State Assembly on Tuesday. To be spent over the next five years, the ambitious '10-point Vanbandhu
Kalyan Yojana' translates into Rs 3,000 crore per annum, which is close to 20 per cent of each year's
annual plan size of the Government. Modi said the entire package would be implemented in a mission
mode beginning this year. In a clear sign that not all sections of the Government were not taken into
confidence over the ambitious project, Tribal Development Minister Mangubhai Patel, when questioned
from where the money would come for the scheme, expressed his inability to answer. "It is a CM's
scheme and he would know the answer," said the Minister. Leader of Opposition Arjun Modhvadia called it
a panic reaction of a Government worried by the massive turnout of tribals at last month's Sonia Gandhi
rally in Devgadh Baria. Projects under the Yojana include broadband connection to all tribal talukas;
quality employment to five lakh tribal families; quality higher education through one science stream higher
secondary school in each tribal taluka, one Navodaya or Eklavya type school in each tribal taluka,
establishment of 100 more hostels for college students among others. (Indian Express 1/3/07)
Tribal students make merry (6)
BHUBANESWAR: Holi, the festival of colours, was celebrated with great enthusiasm by students of
Kalinga Institute of Social Sciences (KISS) in the capital city on Saturday. The school offers free boarding
and education from primary to Plus Two science level to 3000 tribal children belonging to 28 tribes coming
from 30 districts of Orissa. The Holi celebration in the school was inaugurated by Scheduled Caste and
Scheduled Tribe Development Minister Chaitanya Prasad Majhi. A host of Oriya film personalities and
eminent persons also attended the celebrations and played Holi with the tribal boys and girls. (The Hindu
Tribal leader held after leading dharna (6)
BHOPAL: A tribal leader, along with two others, was arrested this weekend after he went to the District
Collector' s office at Betul in Madhya Pradesh with a large number of tribals to play Holi and draw the
Collector's attention to their pending demands through "Gandhigiri." The district president of the
Samajwadi Jan Parishad, Mangal Singh, had given advance information about the plan. The national
executive member of the Parishad, Anurag Modi, told The Hindu on Sunday that the tribals, on reaching
the Collector's office at 4 p.m. on Saturday, found that Section 144 of Criminal Procedure Code had been
imposed. They waited there for about an hour and left the place after distributing pamphlets. The
pamphlet said despite theiragitation, the Collector did nothing to address their demands that were linked to
the rate for plucking tendu leaf, below poverty line survey and irregularities in payment as well as granting
of compensation under the Employment Guarantee Act. When the tribals left the Collectorate, Mangal
Singh and two others were arrested near Nehru Park and sent to Betul Jail. (The Hindu 5/3/07)
Tribals to lift road blockade (6)
BHUBANESWAR: The Jajpur district administration heaved a sigh of relief on Monday with the agitating
tribals of Kalinga Nagar tribals agreeing to lift their road blockade agitation on Tuesday. Under the banner
of the Visthapan Virodhi Janmanch, the tribals of Kalinga Nagar had been blocking the Daitari-Paradip
highway at Kalinga Nagar since January 2 last year when 13 tribal men and women were killed in police
firing while opposing construction of a boundary wall for the proposed steel plant project of Tata Steel. The
leaders of the Janmanch agreed to lift the road blockade after they discussed their grievances with District
Collector Arabinda Kumar Padhee and other officials at a meeting held at Kalinga Nagar. About 25
representatives of the Janmanch attended the meeting. Talking to The Hindu over the phone, Mr. Padhee
expressed satisfaction over the outcome of the meeting. "The peace initiative that we attempted sincerely
and proper implementation of the resettlement and rehabilitation measures paid dividends," he said.
According to Mr. Padhee, the tribals were assured that the chopped off limbs of a few firing victims will be
returned to their families on Tuesday. It was also agreed that the ex gratia payments will be paid to the
next of kin of the 12 tribals who were killed in the police firing. One of the 13 families had accepted the ex
gratia amount earlier. It was also decided that all those who had sustained injuries in the police firing will
also be paid ex gratia amount of Rs. 50,000 each. As regards the withdrawal of cases registered against
the tribals, the authorities assured that the Government has taken a lenient view and the cases were being
reviewed. Some cases will be withdrawn as per the law. The district administration had been desperately
trying to win over the tribals to put an end to the road blockade agitation as the High Court had fixed
March 9 as the deadline for lifting the blockade. The High Court had passed the order while hearing a
public interest petition on the issue. Although the Janmanch has said it would continue its agitation against
displacement in the area, they have told the administration to continue the dialogue process till their
demands were fulfilled (The Hindu 6/3/07)
Tribal refugees continue hunger strike in Tripura (6)
Hundreds of tribal refugees, who have been on a hunger strike in Tripura seeking repatriation to Mizoram,
refused on Monday to call off their agitation, despite appeals by the State Government. "We shall continue
our fast-unto-death agitation till our problem is resolved permanently," said Elvis Chorkhy, president of the
Mizoram Bru Displaced People's Forum. Some 300 tribal refugees launched the indefinite hunger strike
on Friday after resorting to a week-long sit-in demonstration near the Raj Bhavan here. Over 33,000
Reang (locally called 'Bru') tribal refugees have been living in six north Tripura camps since October 1997
after they fled Mizoram following ethnic clashes with the majority Mizos. An all-party delegation from the
Tripura Assembly led by Chief Minister Manik Sarkar met the striking refugee leaders and requested them
to withdraw their agitation. Earlier on Monday, the Assembly passed a unanimous resolution urging the
refugees to withdraw their stir. "The Tripura Government, all the political parties in the State and the Union
Government are sympathetic towards your cause and struggle. New Delhi has taken certain steps to solve
your problems," Sarkar told the agitating refugee leaders. The Chief Minister said Union Home Secretary
VK Duggal and Joint Secretary (Northeast Affairs) Naveen Verma were arriving in Aizawl Thursday and
then visit Agartal Tuesday to discuss the refugee crisis. Tripura Chief Secretary Shashi Prakash also held
a series of talks over phone with the union home ministry and requested it to take urgent steps to end the
crisis.Khagen Das, Lok Sabha member from Tripura, also met the Reang tribal leaders. In April 2005, the
Mizoram government and the militant Bru National Liberation Front (BNLF) signed an agreement after 13
rounds of talks to solve the decade-old ethnic crisis, leading to the surrender of about 1,040 militants of
the BNLF and Bru Liberation Front of Mizoram (BLFM).Both the rebel outfits have been fighting for setting
up an autonomous council for the refugees. (Pioneer 6/3/07)
Orissa tribals lift highway blockade (6)
Bhubaneswar, March 6: Bisthapan Birodhi Janamanch, the tribal organisation that has been spearheading
the blockage of the Daitary-Paradip national highway since January 2, 2006, has finally agreed to relent
from its 14-month long agitational activities. The Janamanch leaders on Tuesday received the chopped off
palms of their relatives and announced to lift the road blockade on Wednesday. As per the practice, the
doctors — who conducted post-mortem on the body of the police firing victims, had dismembered the
palms of the slain tribals as their identity could not be ascertained then. Although efforts were made earlier
to return the palms of the victims to their kith and kin, the latter had disowned the same saying the
chopped off organs did not belong the killed tribals. The ice was broken when the much awaited dialogue
between agitating tribals of Kaliga Nagar and Jajpur collector Arabinda Padhi took place on Monday for an
amicable solution to the crisis arising after the January 2 police firing incident. Despite road blockade, the
Janamanch has, however, been allowing vehicular traffic, except trucks, to ply on the road for the last
couple of months. All ground levelling and construction activities of the proposed Tata steel plant in the
industrial complex area had been brought to a halt by the triabl agitation. It may be mentioned here that
the firing incident took place when the tribals opposing construction of boundary walls of Tata steel project
clashed with the police. Tata Steel, after signing memorandum of understanding (MoU) with the state
government, is facing tough time to make up with the agitating triabls, who are opposing to hand over the
land in favour of the steel company. After two futile attempts over the last week, the district administration
was successful in getting the Janmanch leaders to the negotiation table on Monday. A twenty-member
delegation led by the Janamanch general secretary Rabindra Jarika headed the talks with the
administration which lasted for three hours. The collector informed the tribals about the high court order
directing the district administration and the state government to lift the road blockade and said that
everyone had to obey the court's directive. Mr Jarika, however, said their outfit would continue the road
blocked till the government withdrew all cases registered against the tribals, issuance death certificate to
the kith and kin of those who were killed in police firing and the return of palms — chopped off the victims
— to their families. A letter was given to the Janmanch assuring them of sympathetic and lenient review of
all cases registered against the tribals. These apart, death certificates and post-mortem certificates were
also assured to be handed over to the deceased's families. (Asian Age 7/3/07)
K Nagar tribals demand further talks with CM (6)
Bhubaneswar/Jajpur : Contrary to the expectation that the agitating Kalinga Nagar tribals would lift their
14-month-old road blockade from Tuesday, the Visthapan Virodhi Janmanch made a condition that any
decision to this effect would only be taken after another round of talks between its leaders and Chief
Minister Naveen Patnaik. In this connection, Secretary Visthapan Virodhi Janmanch, Rabindra Jarika
faxed a letter to Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik on Tuesday. They also renewed their demands and
demanded that the compensation amount for the families of the deceased of the police firing should be
enhanced from Rs 10 lakh to Rs 20 lakh and jobs to the members of the concerned families. They also
urged the Government to pay Rs 1 lakh to the concerned family for each pair of chopped-off palms so
they would be able to cremate it with required rituals. All these demands have created uncertainty over the
lifting of the road blockade in a peaceful manner. However, after the Janmanch, the umbrella outfit of the
agitating tribals, softened their anti-Government stand, its members on Tuesday received the chopped-off
palms of the tribals killed in the January 2, 2006 police firing from the district administration. Returning of
the chopped-off palms was one of the major demands of the tribals, who have been staging the road
blockade on the Daitary-Paradeep Express Highway , since the police firing incident. A 15-member
delegation of the Janmanch, led by its president Chakradhar Haiburu, received the five pairs of
chopped-off palms of the tribals kept with the district administration since January 2 last year after 13
tribals were gunned down by the police while opposing construction of a boundary wall for the proposed
project of Tata Steel. Amid a storm of protests, the doctors, who conducted the postmortem on the firing
victims' bodies, were suspended by the Government. Earlier, the district authorities had failed to hand over
the palms after the tribals expressed their doubts over the genuineness of the limbs. It was decided at a
meeting between Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik and the tribals in Bhubaneswar on January 31 this year
that the limbs would be returned after forensic testing. Janmanch secretary Rabindra Jarika said, "We
cannot obey any decision if it affects our life and livelihood. The agitation against the industrialisation will
continue unless we get a written assurance from the Chief Minister." The Janmanch leaders further said
the opposition to the steel project would continue. (Pioneer 7/3/07)
Tribals lift road blockade (6)
BHUBANESWAR: The tribals of Kalinga Nagar in Jajpur district of the Orissa lifted their road blockade
agitation in the wee hours of Friday much to the relief of the Naveen Patnaik Government. Secretary of the
Visthapan Virodhi Janmanch said that the blockade had been lifted showing respect to the High Court
order, but the movement against displacement by the proposed steel plant project of Tata Steel will
continue in the area. As per their announcement made on Thursday evening, the office-bearers of the
Janmanch and a large number of men and women from the nearby villages gathered at the blockade site
near Ambagadia village around midnight and removed the obstruction from the Daitari-Paradip highway
around 2 a.m. The tribals, who lifted the blockade after performing a puja ceremony, vowed to continue
their agitation against displacement by industries in their locality. High Court, which had earlier directed the
State Government to remove the road blockade, had fixed Friday as the deadline for implementing its
orders. When the case came up before the Court at Cuttack, counsel for the State Government submitted
that the blockade had been lifted. In Bhubaneswar, Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik expressed satisfaction
over the lifting of the road blockade by the tribals of Kalinga Nagar. The Janmanch, however, has clarified
that it would strongly oppose all activities of Tata Steel in their area till the various demands of the
Janmanch were fulfilled by the State Government. "We will not give our land and houses for any industry
in the area," Mr. Jarika said. Meanwhile, the Finance Department of the State Government gave its nod to
a proposal mooted by the Home Department to raise new force to be named Industrial Security Force.
Initially, the force will have around 500 personnel. Funds are being allocated to facilitate creation of the
new force which will be deployed in various industrial hubs of the State to maintain law and order, a senior
government official said after a high level meeting held on Friday. People's opposition to setting up of new
industries at various places and frequent law and order problems in different industrial hubs in the recent
months had made the authorities to go in for creating the new force, sources said. (The Hindu 10/3/07)
`Protect livelihood of displaced tribals' (6)
BHUBANESWAR: Noted writer and Magsaysay awardee Mahasweta Devi on Sunday called for protection
of livelihood of tribal population in the wake of fast industrialisation in different States, particularly in Orissa
and West Bengal. The people who had been evicted due to industrial projects in Kalinga Nagar and such
other areas should be provided with all basic amenities, including houses, electricity, drinking water,
schools, approach roads and health facilities, Ms. Devi said. Speaking at the prize-giving ceremony of the
23rd Bhubaneswar Book Fair here, the octogenarian writer also said tribal and marginalised sections of
society should be brought under various welfare programmes. She focused on the Singur, where the Tata
Group was planning to put up a car project. Ms. Devi said, while thousands of cars could be produced
from a facility on 300 acres of land at Gurugaon in Haryana, why the West Bengal Government was
handing over 1,000 acres of fertile land. "I was happy with the way villagers came out to protest against
land acquisition. When I visited Singur some 15,000 villagers gathered to say that they would not give
away their land. It was more heartening to note that most of these protesters were women," she said. The
Jnanpeeth winner criticised West Bengal for "indiscriminately" handing over land to different industrial
houses such as Tata, Salim and Jindal groups. Ms. Mahasweta Devi, who was conferred Arya Vedanta
award at the function, declared that the prize money would go for the welfare of a primitive tribe of West
Bengal. Speaking on the occasion, former Lok Sabha Speaker Rabi Ray said the writers should make
efforts to enrich Oriya language and encourage budding writers. The book fair would come to an end on
Monday. (The Hindu 12/3/07)
Villagers protest against curbs on access to forest resources (6)
BHUBANESWAR: A group of 500 villagers residing inside the Badrama Wildlife Sanctuary in Sambalpur
district took to the streets on Monday demanding better access to natural resources. The inhabitants of
remote villages submitted a memorandum to district magistrate L N Nayak describing the painful life they
had been leading inside the forest area. "The residents critically depend on collection of various
non-timber forest produces (NTFPs) for their sustenance. Restrictions of forest department on collection
of NTFPs inside the sanctuary area have led to serious livelihood crisis for villagers ," convenor of
Badrama Sanctuary Bikash Parishad (BSBP) Dusmant Kumar Pradhan said. He alleged that the
Government welfare programmes, including NREGP had not been extended to these villagers. "The
problems get further complicated when the forest department charge entry fee on villagers. We are
branded like a criminals on our own land," Mr. Pradhan said. The BSBP demanded immediate
implementation of The Scheduled Tribes and Other Traditional Forest Dwellers (Recognition of Forest
Right Act 2006) that provided greater access to forest resources. (The Hindu 13/3/07)
Tribals can contest from SC seats, says Centre (6)
New Delhi, March 12: The Centre on Monday told the Supreme Court that it would not have any objection
if Scheduled Tribes (STs) candidates contested from constituencies reserved for Scheduled Castes (SCs)
during the ensuing elections in Uttar Pradesh. However, such concession might create considerable
dichotomy in the long run as the STs, who are seeking such benefits, are at present availing various other
educational and service benefits under the ST quota, additional solicitor-general Gopal Subramaniam told
a bench of Justices C.K. Thakker and V.S. Sirpurkar. The bench, which heard the arguments of the
government and senior counsel Shanti Bhushan, who appeared for the petitioner Vijay Singh Gond and
the Adiwasi Giriwasi Samiti Duddhi, said it would pronounce its interim order on Tuesday. (PTI) (Asian
Age 13/3/07)
Parents starve tribal baby girls to death (6)
Parigi (Andhra Pradesh), March 13: Eleven newborn girls were starved to death in the past one year by
their parents in a tribal village of Ranga Reddy district, 80 km from Hyderabad. The tribals of the Lambada
sect in Cheruvu Mundali Tanda of Kulkacharla mandal let the infants die by refusing to feed them. It is a
long-standing practice of the tribals to wrap up girls in a piece of cloth and leave them to die. They cherish
only male babies and consider daughters to be an economic burden. In fact, the villagers did not have any
qualms in admitting that they let the poor infants die. "My wife Bhagyamma gave birth to a female baby for
the third time," said Jarpula Peerya Nayak, 27, of the village. "A daughter is a burden and we decided not
to feed her. So she died." Jarpula Nayak hastened to add that he did not kill the baby by smothering her or
strangling her. "We just let her die," he added. "It is very difficult to bring up girls and marry them off." His
cousin, J. Ravi, and his wife Sujatha also let their newborn baby girl starve to death. This happened on
February 25. "My daughter died two days after birth since we did not feed her," admitted Ravi. "We already
have two girls and can't afford to have one more." After starving and killing the baby girls, the tribals dig a
grave in their fields and bury them. Then they put a stone on the grave. Villagers said that dogs had eaten
parts of the body of Ravi's daughter and he had to bury her again. Most of the 40-odd families in the
village have either witnessed such killings or have performed it themselves over the years. Jarpula Lokya
Nayak, brother of MPTC Pentya Nayak, is also learnt to have starved to death two girls. Most of the
infants starved to death were the third or fourth daughters of couples. Female infanticide is also practised
at Rokatigutta Tanda of Ipavapalli panchayat, Gorigadda Tanda of K. Samudram and Nerellagadda
Tanda. On March 9, schoolteachers, with the help of an NGO activist of Gorigadda Tanda, prevented K.
Buggamma and Pandya Nayak from killing their fifth child, which also turned out to be a daughter.
"Buggamma had said beforehand that she would kill the child if it was female," said Rajesh Rathod,
headmaster of the Government Upper Primary School in Gorigadda Tanda. "After the baby was born, we
told her that Goddess Lakshmi had come to her home. Only after that did she feed the baby." Kulkacharla
deputy mandal revenue officer Y.B.N. Avataram said that the recurrent infanticide had not come to his
notice so far. "We will conduct an inquiry into this," he said. Parigi inspector P. Maheswar also said that he
came to know of the killing of the infants through media representatives. "The villagers told our constables
that the babies were stillborn or were premature," he said. "We haven't booked any cases so far."
Keshulamma, a midwife of Cheruvu Mundali Tanda, said that she had delivered 11 female babies in her
village recently but all of them had "died" soon after. Strangely enough, the main reason cited by parents
for killing the girls is the huge expense of marrying them off, maybe 20 years later. "We have to give a
scooter, five to six tolas of gold and Rs 50,000 cash to a good groom," said a villager. "How many people
can afford that?" Because of this, villagers turn a deaf ear even if they hear the heart-rending cries of an
unfed child on the throes of death. …….. (Asian Age 14/3/07)
Congress complains to Central Tribal Commission (6)
JAIPUR: The Congress has complained to the Central Tribal Commission about "discriminatory" treatment
being meted out by the BJP-led Government in Rajasthan to tribals in providing relief. While the families of
the victims of police firing elsewhere in the State were given Rs.5 lakh each, the kin of Ram Lal, killed in
police firing in Rishhabdev town last month, was given only Rs.1 lakh, it has pointed out. In a
representation to the Chairman of the Tribal Commission, Pradesh Congress Committee general
secretary Ashk Ali Tak alleged, "Even in the matter of awarding compensation to the deceased in police
firing a tribal is discriminated against in Rajasthan." After the police firings at Gharsana in Sriganganagar
in October and December 2004 in which six persons were killed, the families were given a relief of Rs.5
lakh each. Similarly, in Tonk district where five persons were killed in police firing in June 2005, a solatium
of Rs.5 lakh each had been paid to the kin, Mr. Tak said. The family of Ram Lal, a tribal who belonged to
Dhelana village in Kherwara tehsil of Udaipur, was paid only Rs.1 lakh, Mr. Tak pointed out. "Without
going into the un-justifiability of police firing, which is a separate issue, the Rajasthan Pradesh Congress
Committee submits that even in tragedies the BJP State Government is not desisting from making
discrimination against Adivasis," he added. (The Hindu 14/3/07)
Jharkhand tribals protest near Parliament (6)
NEW DELHI: Representatives of the Scheduled Tribes from Jharkhand held a protest demonstration at
Parliament Street here on Wednesday demanding that the number of seats in the Assembly be increased
and also that the present proportion of the Scheduled Tribes reserved seats be maintained. The
protesters claimed that villagers in the area were being illegally dispossessed of their lands by the defence
establishment, the Airports Authority of India and the Steel Authority of India. Addressing the gathering,
Communist Party of India (Marxist) leader Brinda Karat said a petition listing the problems of the people
had been submitted to Prime Minister Manmohan Singh and he had promised that the matter would be
looked into. "What the people here are demanding are their rights. A letter from the Defence Ministry
states that the land in and around Ranchi airport belongs to the defence establishment and that the
villagers have no legal right over it and that members of the Scheduled Tribes have encroached on it. We
are asking for a re-look into the matter," said Ms. Karat. As for their demand for increasing the number of
seats in the Legislative Assembly, Ms. Karat said: "We spoke about the problem to the Prime Minister and
he said that a committee will be constituted to look into the matter. We also want the Government to
provide rice and wheat at competitive prices to the villagers. We will continue to raise our voice till the
Government addresses the needs of the villagers." The demonstration was also addressed by several
tribal representatives including Ramnika Gupta, Sukhnath Lohra and Surjeet Sinha who spoke about the
"sufferings of the people of Jharkhand." "People are being deprived of their democratic rights and are not
being allowed to participate in developmental activities as the Government is not holding panchayat
elections in the State. We want to know why the Government has not yet looked into our problems?" said
Ramnika Gupta. CPI (M) leader J.S. Majumdar was present. (The Hindu 15/3/07)
PM assures adivasi seats: Brinda (6)
New Delhi, March 15: The political bureau member of the Communist Party of India (Marxist) CPI (M) and
member of Parliament, Brinda Karat, on Thursday said that the Prime Minis ter Manmohan Singh has
assured her of protection to the adivasi 'seats. Ms Karat had met the Prime Minister on Wednesday and
submitted a memoran dum. "I am relieved after the assurance from the Prime Minister," Ms Karat said.
She was addressing a press con ference at the CPI (M) headquarters in capital. "After we submitted the
mem orandum to the Prime Minister, he said that he finds no problem as to why it should not be done". Ms
Karat said the Prime Minister has assured her that the entire population in the adivasi sched uled areas
would be brought under the 5th schedule of the Constitution. Five hundred adivasi's from Jhark-hand had
come to Delhi on Wednesday and protested in front of the Parlia ment. The protesting adivasis, led by the
CPI (M), were saying that they are losing the assembly seats, scheduled areas, land, jobs and food. They
were also saying that their condition hasn't improved even after the UFA govern ment came to power. The
adivasi delegation also met the Union home minister Shiv Raj Patil and submitted the memorandum to
him. The adivasis had put forth five major demands in their memorandum that was submitted to the Prime
Minister and home minister. (Asian Age 16/3/07)
Terror-stricken night for tribal children (6)
Ranibodili: There were 48 girls, all of them tribal children, staying in the same building, with only a wall
separating them from the khaki-clad policemen and the Special Police Officers. Not a single bullet was
embedded in the wall. The girls mostly belong to the Moriya tribe, generally known to be sympathetic to
the Maoists. The three hours was nerve-wracking, though, as they cried out for help, hiding under their
cots. The minute the gunfire shattered the stillness of the night, their teacher, S.R. Thakur, closed the
doors and took the little ones into his arms. He helped them remain calm under the cots, as they waited
for help that did not come. Eventually, he brought them out only after the sounds of bullets and the
explosion of the smoke bombs died out. They were later shifted to the Somanpalli Ashram School. (The
Hindu 17/3/07)
7 families ostracized as girls take HSC exam (6)
Balangir: Seven families of the Chakotia Bhunjia tribe in Orissa have been ostracised i by their community
for break ing rules — allowing their daughters to appear for the HSC examination. Tribals of Sanbahali village
in Sunabeda sanctuary ostracised the families after Chandini Chhatria, Jayashri Jhankar and Tribeni
Jhankar, who could not succeed in the examination last year, ap peared for it again this year. Another girl
Laila Chhatria also appeared along with them. Education is not en couraged among tribals. It was only a
few years ago that some Chakotia Bhunjia boys appeared for the HSC examination for the first time.
Nowadays, girls are also being sent to school but dropout once they attain puberty, said Kama Chhatria, a
tribal. The community is enraged as some families have allowed their daughters to sit for the ex amination.
"We have ostracised them because they didn't follow our customs and traditions. They also sent their
daughters out side the village to appear for the test, which is against our tradition," said another mem ber
Chaitanya Jhankar. (Times of India 18/3/07)
Chhattisgarh pilot project gives wing to a tribal dream (6)
Raipur, March 23: Hailing from the tribal heartland of Bastar, Ankur Ekka or her family has never set foot
in an aeroplane. Now, if a Chhattisgarh government plan takes off, she will soon be one of a group of 10
tribal girls from the state working as airhostesses. The small step might also prove the giant leap tribals,
who form 44 per cent of the state's population, need for integration into the mainstream. "The entire
process has been like a revelation to me and my parents," says an excited Ankur. State Tribal Welfare
Minister Ganesh Ram Bhagat, the brain behind the pilot project, says the government will bear the cost of
training the girls. "We will be spending an amount of about Rs 1 lakh on each of these girls. However, this
amount is nothing when we consider the fact that they will be breaking new ground," says Bhagat. The first
batch of 10 girls, selected under the project, will begin training at Air Hostess Academy, a private institute
in Raipur, soon. The applicants had to be between 17 and 24 years of age, have a pleasing personality,
good communication skills, and should have at least passed Class XII. Christina Lal, who hails from the
tribal majority district of Dhamtari, says what's driving her is the memory of the late Kalpana Chawla. "I
think there is a definite correlation between our cases as both of us tried for a profession that has not
generally been associated with our communities, in her case as a woman and in my case as a tribal,"
Christina says. The government will be lobbying with private airlines for a job for each of these girls once
they are through with the training. "Unless we are able to secure a job for each of these trained students
we won't consider our responsibility complete," says Secretary, Tribal Welfare Department, M K Raut.
(Indian Express 24/3/07)
Tribals to hold maha rally on April 29 (6)
Rourkela : The tribals of Kuarmunda Block in Sundargarh district observed March 24, 2007 as Kranti
Diwas following the completion of one-year of their demonstration against the sponge iron factories,
protesting against environmental pollution and other four issues. The have also decided to organise a
maha rally in Kuarmunda on April 29. One year ago, thousands of tribals of Kuarmunda Block
demonstrated before the Neepaz Steel and other five factories under the leadership of former Biramitrapur
MLA and Sundargarh district former BJD president George Tirkey on five issues: employment to local
youth, save environment, proper compensation to displaced, peripheral development and no further
displacement. Later the movement turned violent and the demonstrators ransacked the six sponge units.
Even the Sub-Collector Panposh was severely injured. To rein in the violence, police lathicharged and on
the FIRs of different victims arrested more than hundred tribals including George Tirkey and eight school
going children – released on bail after three months on the direction of Orissa High Court. The
demonstrations continued thereafter and even spread to different part of the District against displacement
and pollution alleging Government's non-chalance to their demands. On Saturday at Kuarmunda
Inspection Bungalow, to commemorate their anniversary of the movement and also to chart the future
course of action, a meeting had been organised, where the participants agreed on to accelerate their
movement in the coming days for the cause of tribals. A steering committee, taking two representatives
from each GP of the twenty GPs under Kuarmunda GP, was formed to orchestrate the plans decided
upon. Earlier the Local Displaced Association for RSP and Mandira Dam had given a call to go for
economic blockade. Experts see the call of the tribal meet to hold a mega rally could be a testing time for
the administration and political parties. Meanwhile, apprehending law and order problem, police had
cordoned the area of Neepaz Steel and Kuarmunda IB area as a precautionary measure. (Pioneer
K Nagar tribal team reaches Nandigram (6)
Jaipur : Despite the 24-hour detention by the West Bengal Police at the Kharagpur railway station, a
38-member Kalinga Nagar tribal delegation reached Nandigram in East Medinapur district that hit the
headlines recently after 14 farmers were killed in violence over land acquisition on Monday evening. The
delegation consisting of some woman members headed by Visthapan Virodhi Janmanch general
secretary Rabindra Jarika were detained at the railway station on Sunday, as they were heading towards
Nandigram on the show Puri-Howrah Express, to express their solidarity with the family members of the
victims, who had died in the police firing. "We were surprised. About 40 police personnel, many of them in
civilian clothes, surrounded us at Kharagpur railway station and asked why we were going to Nandigram.
We told them we were going to express our solidarity with the people of Nandigram. But they herded us
into a waiting van," said Amar Singh Banara, one of the delegation members over telephone after
reaching the destination. West Bengal Police swung into action after reportedly getting an alert message
from their Orissa counterpart. The tribals ran into trouble when they got off the Puri-Howrah Express at
Kharagpur around 3 am. Banara said that the delegation was interrogated by the police. He added, "police
looked keen to know if the tribal group had any links with Maoists. Though they gave us food, they did not
allow us to move out." Vista pan Virodhi Janmanch president Chakradhar Haiburu (Senior) said, "The
West Bengal police's action on our delegation is unfortunate and as an attempt to 'curb the democratic
rights'. There is no difference between Kalinga Nagar and Nandigram. Hence the people of Kalinga Nagar
thought it was their duty to stand by the people of Nandigram in their hour of crisis. Nandigram tribals had
come here to console us after the ghastly police firing. Our men had gone there to empathise with them
on humanitarian point of view, as a friend in need. Besides, the delegation will express our solidarity with
the farmers who are agitating against the Left Front Government's bid to procure land for Indonesian
based Salem Group." Palpable tension prevailed in the tribal-dominated villages in the industrial complex
area as the news of the detention tribals by the police at the railway station reached here. (Pioneer
Naxal attacks a nightmarish experience for tribal families (6)
MARAIGUDEM: The raids by the CPI (Maoist) on a police station and adjacent Salwa Judum base camp,
housing about 1,600 tribal families, at Maraigudem in Dantewada district of Chhattisgarh from March 24 to
27 has caused considerable alarm. The families were displaced in the wake of confrontation between the
extremist group and the State-sponsored Salwa Judum campaign. The raids were spearheaded by an
assault group of 70 naxalites, accompanied by about 1,000 members of the party's village level
"sanghams." The naxalites, camping in nearby forests, launched attacks only after nightfall. They hurled
petrol and soap bombs and resorted to heavy firing. It was a nightmarish experience for the inmates of the
tribal settlement, which lacks basic amenities. There is no power supply either at the camp or in the police
station. Dantewada Collector K.R. Pisda visited the camp on Tuesday and assured the inmates that all
steps to protect their lives. They made a representation him, urging that the camp be shifted either to
Gollapali or Konta, division headquarters. Mr. Pisda said their request would be looked into. The first
attack was launched in the early hours of March 24. The Salwa Judum activists responded quickly and
retaliated with bows and arrows. About 60 youths, designated as special police officers and armed with
.303 rifles, thwarted the attack. The fierce fighting lasted for about three hours. A Central Reserve Police
Force unit camping in the village and some 30 personnel of the State civil and armed police joined the
SPOs in beating back the Maoists. A CRPF officer said the naxalites suffered heavy casualties.
Explosives, a .303 rifle and Rs. 27,000 were recovered. Maoists laid siege to the village again the next
night. There was sporadic firing all through the night, with the naxalites retreating to the forests at 5 a.m.
So was the case on the third and fourth day. No reinforcements could be sent to Maraigudem as the area
lacked proper roads. Some of the panic-stricken camp inmates have started migrating to safer places.
The youth, shouldering the task of fortifying the camp, were engaged in the last few days in putting up
wooden barricades to block the free passage of intruders. (The Hindu 29/3/07)
Tension prevails in Kalinga Nagar industrial complex (6)
BHUBANESWAR: Tension prevailed in Kalinga Nagar Industrial Complex in Jajpur district on Monday
following the death of a tribal youth who was injured in police firing on January 2 last year. The victim
Kisan Buliuli, aged about 25 years, breathed his last at the Shriram Chandra Bhanja Medical College at
Cuttack late on Sunday evening. As many as 13 tribal men and women had been killed when police
opened fire on the agitating tribals, who were opposing construction of a boundary wall for he proposed
steel plant project of Tata Steel. As the body of the victim reached Kalinga Nagar, hundreds of tribal men
and women blocked the Daitari-Paradip highway alleging that Buliuli died due to negligence on the part of
the authorities who failed to provide him necessary medical help. The office-bearers of the Visthapan
Virodhi Janmanch, the organisation that is spearheading the anti-displacement agitation in the locality,
alleged that the victim was got not given adequate medical attention when he was admitted to a local
government hospital on Saturday. Buliuli, who was treated at the SCB Medical College after he received
bullet injuries last year, was ailing and continued to suffer from fever most of the time, Janmanch
secretary Rabindra Jarika said. The victim, who hailed from Chandia village of Kalinga Nagar area, was
married and is survived by his pregnant wife. As the tribals continued to block the road from around 1 p.m.
demanding adequate compensation for the family of the deceased, the district administration officials
assured that Buliuli will be treated as a firing victim and his wife would be given necessary governmental
support, Mr Jarika said. The authorities also assured to provide medical care to 38 other tribals, who had
been injured in the police firing. Of the 38 persons, 18 had received serious injuries in the incident, Mr.
Jarika said. The tribals lifted the road blockade around 7 p.m. after the body of Buliuli was cremated and
assurances were given by the authorities to fulfill their demands. The road blockade agitation by the tribals
of Kalinga Nagar, which started on the day of the firing incident last year, was lifted on the night of March
8. The Janmanch lifted the road blockade showing respect to a High Court order on the issue. (The Hindu
Tribal-friendly, eco-unfriendly (6)
With the popularity of the Raman Singh government at its lowest, over the past few months Bharatiya
Janata Party leaders have been busy finding innovative ways to appease and consolidate the party vote
bank. In a step that is being widely viewed as an attempt to maintain its dominance among the tribal
population of Chhattisgarh, the government has decided to drop criminal charges against 2,20,613 people,
registered under various forest and wildlife protection laws. Of these, 1,08,890 are Scheduled Tribes,
while 36,298 belong to the Scheduled Caste community. With this move, the government is set to lose Rs
12.76 crore in terms of fines imposed on the suspects booked under the various forest and wildlife
protection laws. While the entire nation is protesting loss of tree cover and illegal poaching, this step taken
by the Raman Singh government has only been successful in shielding criminals involved in destruction of
forest resources. However, the chief minister defends his decision to drop the charges by saying that "a
majority of these cases had been pending for many years and as most of these offenders were involved in
minor crimes, we decided to let them off with a warning." BJP sources said the recent losses in
Rajnandgaon Lok Sabha and Kota Assembly bypolls led to this step to shield the tribal population. "While
the Congress has maintained a stronghold in the non-tribal districts, the BJP doesn't want to lose its hold
over tribal constituencies, which have been our supporters," the sources added. They pointed out that the
Bharatiya Janata Party was brought to power in the last Assembly polls due to the votes it received from
Scheduled Tribes constituencies. It won 26 ST seats, while the Congress could only secure eight seats.
Surprisingly, the state Congress has been silent over the issue. No senior leader is willing to go on record
to criticise the government since the Scheduled Tribes enjoy an overwhelming majority in the state with
about 35 per cent of the total population being classified under the category. However, animal lovers and
conservationists have been crying foul in what is being termed as government's "political stand over the
issue". Though the Raman Singh government repeatedly claims that the state has one of the highest
green covers in the country, with about 45 per cent of its total area under forests, such policies could
cause the state to lose its precious forest cover. (Indian Express 5/5/07)
Tribals protest runway expansion (6)
Tribals in Jharkhand are up in arms against the State Government's decision to extend the runway of
Ranchi airport. The expansion plan will require acquisition of around 210 acres of land belonging to the
tribals. A team of tribals, along with CPI(M) leaders, had last month met Defence Minister AK Antony over
the issue. They requested him that the land of the tribal people not be taken over for the project. "Around
2,000 acres of land was acquired by the defence coordination committee in 1942. The land was not
acquired under the Land Acquisition Act 1894 and the tribals were not given compensation," said Gyan
Shankar Mazumdar, CPI(M) Jharkhand unit general secretary. A major part of the land was later
transferred to the Civil Aviation Ministry and some of it remains with the Defence Ministry. Mazumdar
claimed that many tribal families still pay land revenue and possess the original land papers. A case is
also pending in the Jharkhand High Court over the issue. The tribals are pressing for two demands.
Firstly, the acquisition of fresh land be stopped and secondly, the land acquired in 1942, which is lying
unused, be given to displaced people. (PIONEER 7/4/07)
Tribal Council for scrapping of Polavaram (6)
BHUBANESWAR: The Orissa's Tribes Advisory Council (TAC) on Tuesday unanimously passed a
resolution urging Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik to impress upon Centre to scrap the Polavaram
Multipurpose Project proposed by Andhra Pradesh Government across the Godavari. The TAC,
comprising of prominent tribal legislators, Member of Parliament and tribal leaders, expressed concern
that the back water of Polavaram project would submerge large areas which were under occupation of
tribals in Malkanagiri district of the state. Water Resource Secretary Arabinda Behera gave a presentation
of submergence to be caused. Mr. Patnaik assured that he would soon write to Centre intimating the
resolution of the TAC. (THE HINDU 11/4/07)
Tribal women in need of good health system (6)
BHUBANESWAR: At a time when medical science made a substantial progress and the Orissa
Government claimed to have made healthcare available in remote pockets, most of tribal women
interviewed by the State Commission for Women (SCW) said they depended on traditional methods of
deliveries and other childcare practices. "Wherever we have visited, we have found negligible presence of
gynaecologists. In Koraput, Rayagada and Malkanagiri, the women demanded appointment of women
doctors to address their problems," SCW chairperson Namita Panda said here on Wednesday.
Addressing a press conference on the occasion of National Safe Motherhood Day, she said hundreds of
women across undivided Koraput district complained of poor health system. The SCW has so far
conducted public hearing on safe motherhood in 14 districts and will be holding similar interactions in nine
districts. Ms Panda said though the Maternal Mortality Rate (MMR), maternal death per lakh live births, in
the country had substantially come down to 301 between 1997-2003 as against 407 in the early 1990s, the
State had fared badly by managing to reduce the rate from 376 to 358 during the same period. The SCW
also found that stray cases of corruption among doctors' community made the mater worse in different
districts including Keonjhar and Malkanagiri. At another workshop organised by White Ribbon Alliance
(HRA), a voluntary organisation, to mark the day here on Wednesday, speakers expressed concern on
slow progress of Orissa on this front. State HRA chairperson Sakti Sahu said "reduction of nine points in
nine years in MMR is not an encouraging sign. In fact, there has not been any significant reduction in the
rate of maternal deaths in the last few years. What is worrisome is that maternal mortality is far greater in
rural areas than in urban areas." Earlier Nehru Yuva Kendra Sangathan, an autonomous body under
Union Ministry of Youth Affairs and Sports, decided to post 15000 post cards to Chief Minister Naveen
Patnaik emphasising safe motherhood in the State. The weeklong campaign titled `Know Your
Entitlement' would be launched on April 30. (THE HINDU 12/4/07)
Bail cancelled for four tribals (6)
BERHAMPUR: The Additional District Judge, Paralakhemundi, on Thursday cancelled the bail of four
tribals arrested on the charge of helping Maoists through video shows of the movie `Lal Salam' in remote
villages in Gajapati district on Thursday. The public prosecutor filed a review petition on the bail order on
April 10. The Gajapati police arrested these four persons of Mohana block in Gajapati district, Prashant
Kadraka, Narendra Dengamaka, Manoj Majhi and Maleka Majhi on Sept 22 last year from Gilakuta village
while they were showing 'Lal Salam' there. They claim to be members of a tribal cultural organisation
named Kui Sanskrutika Sangh. But as per police they were supporters of naxals who also helped in the
naxal attack on R.Udaygiri town last year. (THE HINDU 13/4/07)
Tribal body tells migrant workers to go (6)
Shillong, April 12: Fear and panic has gripped non-tribal migrant workers in the north-eastern state of
Meghalaya after an influential tribal body served quit notices, asking them to vacate the state by the
month-end or face action. "We are having sleepless nights and feeling greatly insecure after the threat.
Like me, many people working here are in a quandary," Harsha Gurung, a middle-aged Nepali-speaking
daily wage earner, said. Mr Gurung, originally hailing from Nepal, has been working in coalmines in
Meghalaya since the past 12 years. The Federation of Khasi, Jaintia and Garo Peoples (FKJGP), a group
that claims to fight for the rights of the indigenous tribal people of Meghalaya, have set May 1 as the
deadline for Hindi, Nepali and Bengali speaking migrant workers to leave the state. "We are not going to
spell out what course of action we would take once the deadline expires. But something is going to
happen and we shall throw them out," warned Emlang Lytan, president of the federation. There are an
estimated 12,000 migrant workers, most of them working in the many coalfields in Meghalaya, bordering
Bangladesh. "These migrant workers are a bunch of criminals who have been indulging in looting,
murders, and even raping our tribal women," Lytan said. A number of other tribal organisations and
individuals have backed the federation's demand to free the state of migrant workers. (IANS) (ASIAN AGE
Jeep in Raje's carcade set on fire by tribals (6)
Jodhpur, April 15: A group of tribals angered over the alleged entry of security personnel in a temple in
Rajasthan's Sirohi district on Sunday, set ablaze two government vehicles, including a jeep in the chief
minister Vasundhara Raje's convoy and pelted stones at policemen, injuring four of them. The Meena
tribals were protesting the "entry" of security personnel of Ms Raje in the temple of Gautam Rishi, near
Poshaliya village, in that district. The incident occurred at around 12.45 pm after Ms Raje departed from
the temple after taking part in the annual fair there. As per convention, tribals do not permit uniformed men
in the temple and the panchayat and local community had asked police to ensure that no personnel went
near the shrine. Ms Raje was the chief guest at the function and addressed a huge gathering, faced
"angry" words during her speech. After completing her speech Ms Raje left. A group of tribals followed her
convoy, but she had already left the helipad before their arrival. The annoyed mob first pelted stones at
the returning convoy and then burnt an escort jeep and another vehicle. Four policeman, including a
sub-inspector, were injured in the incident. (PTI) (Asian Age 16/4/07)
Green signal for mortgaging tribal land draws flak (6)
BHUBANESWAR: The State Government's recent green signal to mortgage tribal land for some select
purposes, mostly for taking up of economic activities, has come in for a sharp criticism from social
activists, who allege it would serve interest of less than five per cent of tribal population in the state.
According to Union Ministry of Rural Development (MORD) report, of total 18,08,660 tribal families live in
rural areas, 41 per cent are landless while 55.16 per cent are small and marginal landholders. These
groups constitute about 96.74 percent of tribal population in the State. Only 3.26 per cent of tribal
population could afford to mortgage their land. As per the new model, tribals would be given permission to
mortgage their land with banks for some specific reasons and non-tribal could participate in auction
arranged by banks in the event of bankruptcy. "In the event of bankruptcy, permission to non-tribals for
participating in the auction of tribal land will open the floodgate. The relaxation in the existing law indicates
that there are deeper interests at work," said Y. Giri Rao of Vasundhara, a city-based voluntary
organisation. MORD's figure said 10,48,669 tribal families go for loans from informal sources for their daily
consumption. While these families constitute 57.98 per cent, only 9.67 per cent of total tribal families
borrow for production purposes. Ironically, only 1,95,530 tribal families from 14,648 villages of the state
are yet to come inside the vicious circle of debt. These groups constitute only 10.81 per cent of total tribal
population. "If 57.98 per cent of tribal people have been taking loans for their daily consumption for years
now, the state government should first assess as to how much land have been left with the tribal people. If
this relaxation comes in place, the rest 10.81 per cent population will enter the ring of indebtedness in no
time," Mr. Rao said. The Tribal Advisory Council had been demanding relaxation of Orissa Scheduled
Areas Transfer of Immovable Property (by Scheduled Tribe) Regulation 1956 which could pave the way
for mortgaging tribal land for loans for banks. "The problem of land sale to obtain money, faced by a
miniscule proportion of tribals, can be easily solved by either setting up a line of credit by Integrated Tribal
Development Agency or banks based on land mortgage or by setting up a tribal land purchase and
distribution scheme," Soumendra Sarangi, a social activist, said. He said government could purchase the
land from tribals who wanted to sell land at the prevailing market price and then it could distribute such
lands to landless tribal households. (The Hindu 19/4/07)
Tribals, police clash in Rewa district (6)
Bhopal : Six police personnel were injured in stone-pelting even as tribals who had encroached on forest
land were being evicted on Thursday at Ghateha village about 100 km from Rewa district headquarters.
Police had to fire in the air to disperse the agitating tribals. "Roughly 3,000 tribals are encroaching on the
forestland. A notice was served earlier by the district administration. After repeated warnings proved futile,
Forest, Revenue and district administration officials reached the place and began the process of eviction,"
said Inspector-General (Rewa Range) B Maria Kumar. The IG said that the situation was under control
and did not warrant the imposition of prohibitory orders. The stone-pelting ensued after approximately half
the hutments were removed. One personnel had to be rushed to Rewa for treatment of a head injury.
"Police did not use even mild force on the crowd despite the incident," the officer claimed though a New
Trade Union Initiative (NTUI) release alleged that several tribals, who have been residing there for more
than three years, sustained injuries. The NTUI said that police opened fire and lobbed tear gas shells.
"According to the Scheduled Tribes and Other Traditional Forest Dwellers' Act, 2006, a person who
occupied such land prior to 2005 could be labeled an encroacher," the NTUI explained. Forest officials in
Bhopal said that the encroachments on the reserve forest land were done after December 13, 2005,
encroachments prior to this date were not removed. The removal of encroachments had been going on for
about a week. The work of removal of encroachments on forest land was suspended after nightfall and
was likely to resume in the morning. (Pioneer 20/4/07)

Tribals participate in Thakurani jatra (6)
BERHAMPUR: Around 600 tribals, including women and children from R.Udaygiri area of Gajapati district,
took part in the ongoing Thakurani Jatra festival in the city on their way to Puri on Thursday night. This
group is part of an organisation `Parsuram Vahini' with tribals living at Mahendragiri hill range area as
members. They are involved in the protection of environment and heritage of Mahendragiri, which they
believe was the dwelling area of Lord Parsuram, the seventh avatar of Vishnu. According to Ajay Das and
Bibhuti Nayak, who led the tribals, they had taken up a travel to the Puri to have darshan of Lord
Jagannath on Akshaya Tritiya, which is observed as the birthday of Parsuram. As Thakurani Jatra
happens to be a major festival of South Orissa they decided to break their journey in Berhampur to
become part of it. The tribals took out a rally with their traditional drums, cymbals and tribal musical
instruments. They moved around the city and went to Desibehera Street to offer their obeisance at the
makeshift temple of goddess Budhi Thakurani during the festival. (The Hindu 21/4/07)

Tribals seek representation in expert panels on wildlife area (6)
BHUBANESWAR: Tribal leaders and activists have demanded inclusion of community representatives in
expert committees, which play a key role in declaration of villages as Critical Wildlife Area. At the
conclusion of a two-day long consultation on Scheduled Tribes and Other Traditional Forest Dwellers
(Recognition of Forest Rights) Act, 2006, a set of recommendations that was agreed upon stated, "in case
when finally decision is taken to declare an area as critical wildlife area, the rehabilitation plan should be
prepared by the Government in active consultation and participation with the people of the area." Every
village or hamlet or pada coming under the proposed critical wildlife area or National Park or Sanctuary
should have the right to nominate one person to the expert committee, it said. The meeting, which was
attended by lawyers, NGO activists and people from tribal communities, resolved that for the displaced
people who did not have any such evidence or record or rights, there should be provision for verbal
evidence. Moreover, palli sabha should be the unit for identification and vesting of rights to the forest
dwellers. "There should be a time limit of 180 days for the completion of the whole process of initiation of
the process of identification or rights by the gram sabha till the final vesting of rights by the district level
committees," it said. The recommendations will be submitted to the Technical Support Group appointed by
the Ministry of Tribal Affairs. Technical Support Group member K.C. Malhotra and noted tribal activist
Padmashree Tulasi Munda attended the consultation meet, which was organised by the Orissa
Development Action Forum and Forum of Collective Forms Cooperation (Eastern Region). (The Hindu
NGOs condemn police action against tribals (6)
BHOPAL: Last week's pitched battle between police, forest and district authorities, on the one side, and
alleged encroachers, on the other, on forestland near Ghateha village in Madhya Pradesh's Rewa district
has drawn protests. While non-governmental organisations and people's groups have condemned the use
of force against forest dwellers, the Government is firm that no fresh encroachment will be tolerated.
Activists of people's organisations, in a statement at a press conference here on Monday, said the police
attacked and opened fire on tribals, six of whom received bullet injuries. Over 250 others had been
missing since the April 19 incident, the statement claimed. The signatories included Ramesh Chandra
Shukla of the Rashtriya Van Jan Shramjivi Morcha, Manohar Kothekar of the New Trade Union Incentive,
Vijay Bhai of the Abhiyan Jungle Jeevan Suraksh, Anil Garg of the Madhya Pradesh Van Abhiyan,
Rashida Bee of the Bhopal Gas Peedit Mahila Stationary Karmchari Sangh, Sushil Bhai of the Samajwadi
Jan Parishad and Madhuri of the Jagrut Adivasi Dalit Sangathan. When contacted, Principal Chief
Conservator of Forests V.R. Khare said it was a case of fresh encroachments. The authorities had on
April 12-13 and April 17 tried to remove the encroachers, but they were chased away. The first time, there
were only a few encroachers. But when a larger Forest Department team went again, the number of
encroachers had swelled, and it had to retreat under attack by tribals. On April 19, there was heavy stone
throwing as a strong force, comprising police and forest personnel, led by the Sub-divisional Magistrate
and the SDO Police, attempted to clear the encroachments. (THE HINDU 24/4/07)

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Jharkhand Tribals: Are They Really a Minority?

Tribes of Jharkhand

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The tribes of Jharkhand consist of 32 tribes inhabiting the Jharkhand state in India. The tribes in Jharkhand were originally classified on the basis of their cultural types by the world-renowned Indian anthropologist late Professor L. P. Vidyarthi. His classification was as follows:



[edit] Demography

Jharkhand has a population of around 26.90 million, the sex ratio in Jharkhand is 941 females to 1000 males. The tribal population is around 28% of the Jharkhand state, which has been a home to a variety of tribal communities. Jharkhand has 32 tribal groups:

[edit] Tribal festivals in Jharkand

[edit] Sarhul

Sarhul is celebrated during spring season and the Saal trees get new flowers on their branches. It is a worship of the village deity who is considered to be the protector of the tribes. People sing and dance a lot when the new flowers appear. The deities are worshiped with saal flowers. The village priest or Pahan keeps fasting for a couple of days. Early morning he takes bath and puts on new dhoti made of virgin cotton (kachha dhaga}. At previous evening 'Pahan' takes three new earthen pots and fills them with fresh water, next morning he observes these earthen pots and water level inside. If the water level decreases he predicts that there would be famine or less rain,but if the water level is normal,that is the signal of a good rain. Before pooja starts wife of Pahan washes Pahan's feet and gets blessings from him. At Sarna the pooja-place Pahan offers three chickens (young cocks) of different colors to one for the almighty god - the Singbonga or Dharmesh, as the Mundas, Ho and Oraons respectively address Him, another for the village deities and the third for the ancestors. During this pooja villagers surround the Sarna place. Traditional drums -Dhol,Nagara and Turhi players keep drumming and playing along with Pahan chanting prayers to deities. When pooja is finished,boys carry Pahan on their shoulders and girls dancing ahead take him to his house where his wife welcomes him by washing his feet. Then Pahan offers Saal flowers to her wife and villagers. These saal flowers represent the brotherhood and friendship among villagers and Pahan the priest, distributes saal flowers to every villager. He also puts sasl flowers on every house's roof of the village which is called "phool khonsi". At the same time Prasad, a rice made wine called Handia, is distributed among the villagers. And the whole village celebrates with singing and dancing this festival of Sarhul. It goes on for weeks in this region of Chhotanagpur. In Kolhan region it is called "Baa Porob"-flower festival.

[edit] Karam

This festival is a worship of Karam devta, the god of power, youth and youthfulness. Karam festivals is held on the 11th day of the phases of moon in Bhadra month. The groups of young villagers go to jungle and collect wood, fruits and flowers. These are required during the Puja of Karam God. During this entire period people sing and dance in groups. The entire valley seems to be dancing with the drumbeats. This is one of the rare example of such a vital and vibrant youth festival in Jharkhand's Tribal area. At the same time, the unmarried young tribal girls celebrate the Jawa festival, which has its own kind of songs and dance. This is held mainly for the expectation of good fertility and better household. The unmarried girls decorate a small basket with germinating seeds. It is believed that the worship for good germination of the grains would increase the fertility. The girls offer green melons to the Karam deity as a symbol of 'son' which reveals the primitive expectation of human being (i.e grains and children). The entire tribal area of Jaharkhand becomes tipsy during this time.

[edit] Tusu Parab or Makar

This festival is mostly seen in the area between Bundu, Tamar[disambiguation needed] and Raidih area of Jaharkhand. This belt has a great history during India's independence movement. TUSU is a harvest festival held during the winter in the last day of Poush month. It is also for the unmarried girls. Girls decorate a wooden/ bamboo frame with coloured paper and then gift it to the nearby hilly river. Although there is no documented history available on this festival but it has huge collection of scintillating songs full of life and taste. These songs reflect the simplicity and innocence of tribal people.

[edit] Hal Punhya

Hal punhya is a festival which begins with the fall of winter. The first day of Magh month, known as "Akhain Jatra" or "Hal Punhya", considered as the beginning of ploughing. The farmers, to symbolize this auspicious morning plough two and half circles of their agricultural land this day is also considered as the symbol of good fortune.

[edit] Bhagta Parab

This festival comes between the period of spring and summer. Among the tribal people of Jharkhand this festival is best known as the worship of Budha Baba. People fast during the day and carry the bathing Pahan the priest, to the tribal mandir called Sarana Mandir. The Pahan sometimes called Laya, gets out of the pond, the devotees make a chain, locking their thighs with each other and come forward to offer their bare chest to Laya for walk over. After worship in the evening, devotees take part in dynamic and vigorous Chhau dance with lots of gymnastic actions and masks. The next day is full of primitive sports of bravery. The devotees pierce hooks on skin and get tied at one end of a long horizontal wooden pole, which is hanging on the top of a vertical Shal wood pole. The height goes up to 40 feet. The other end of the pole which is connected with a rope, pulled around the pole by the people and the tied devotee display the breath-taking dance in the sky. This festivals is more popular in the Tamar region of Jharkhand.

[edit] Rohini

This festival is perhaps the first festival of Jharkhand. It is a festival of sowing seeds in the field. Farmers starts sowing seeds from this day but there is no dance or song like other tribal festivals but just a few rituals. There are some other festivals like Rajsawala Ambavati and Chitgomha are also celebrated with Rohini.

[edit] Bandna

Bandana is one of the most famous festivals celebrated during the black moon of month of Kartik (Kartik Aamavashya). This festival is mainly for the animals. Tribals are very close with animals and pets. In this festival, people wash, clean, paint, decorate feed well and put ornaments to their cows and bulls. The song dedicated for this festival is called Ohira which is an acknowledgement for animal's contribution in their day-to-day life. The belief behind this festival is animals are integral part of life and have souls as human being do. The most exciting day of the bandanna week is the last day. Closured Bulls and buffaloes are chained to a strong pole and they are attacked with a dry animal Hyde. The angry animals hit the dry skin with its horns and the crowd enjoys. Generally the colour used for decorating animals are natural colours and the is artwork is of folk type.

[edit] Jani-Shikaar

This is held once every 12 years. The womenfolk wear menswear and go for hunting in forest. This is performs in remember of driving away the mohameddens by the kurukh womenfolk in Roh-tas-garh, who wanted to capture the fort on the Sharhul festival new year day for tribal community, when men used to be in drunken condition. They had tried to capture twelve times in twelve years and every time they were driven by the kurukh women, who wore the men's wear while in the field of war.

[edit] Tribal artwork from Jharkhand

  • Chhou mask - Chhou is a type of dance done with colourful masks. The mask made of paper mache in Singhbhum district of Jharkhand. Paper mache of Saraikela and Charinda are famous for Chhou dance. Some times it appears similar to the masks used in kerla in Kathakali.
  • Tribal woodwork - Jharkand is full of good quality saal forest and hence wooden artwork in the "should" of Tribals of Jharkhand. The wood is used for cooking, housing, farming, fishing etc. The tribal artists of some villages have explored their creativity in art, like beautifully decorative door panels, toys, boxes, and other household articles.
  • Tribal Bamboo Artwork - The bamboo found in this area are different from bamboos of Southeast Asia. There is tourist place Netarhat in jahrkhand which means a Bazaar of Bamboo. These bamboos are thin in shape and strong and flexible. The tribal people use bamboo for making baskets, hunting & fishing equipments. Specially the bamboo made fishing cage is very attractive.
  • Tribal Pottery - Tribal pottery is a part of tribals but still no specific working style observed.
  • Tribal jewellery - The tribal people particularly like jewellery. They use metallic ornaments made of gold, silver, brass, copper for their earrings, nose ring, bracelets, bangles etc.
  • Godna - Tribals use ornaments a lots but the spiritual concept of ornament is very different. They believe that all ornaments are human made and are mortal. Therefore they invented tattoos as permanent ornament. Majority of tribal woman have tattoos called Godna, on their bodies. However, tribal man also use Godna.They believe that Godna are the only ornament which goes with them after death also.
  • Tribal weapons - Bow and arrow is the symbolic weapon of the tribals of this area. Apart from this they use iron made Axes and Doulies and Ghana (Big hammer).

[edit] Tribal religion Sarna

The tribals have their own way of conscience, faith and belief. Basically, they believe in the super natural spirit called the Singbonga. According to the belief of the Santhal community, the world is inhabited by numerous spiritual beings of different kind; and the Santhals consider themselves as living and doing everything in close association with these supernatural beings.' They perform rituals under the Sal trees at a place called "Jaher" (sacred grove). Often the Jaher can be found in the forests. They believe in Bonga's appearance in Sal trees and have named their religion as "Sarna."

The genesis of the Sarna religion is interesting. According to the mythology of the Santhal community, the Santhal tribals had gone to the forest for hunting and they started the discussion about their 'Creator and Savior' while they were taking rest under a tree. They questioned themselves that who is their God? Whether the Sun, the Wind or the Cloud? Finally, they came to a conclusion that they would leave an arrow in the sky and wherever the arrow would target that will be the God's house. They left an arrow in the sky; it fell down under a Sal tree. Then, they started worshiping the Sal tree and named their religion as "Sarna" because it is derived from a Sal tree.4 Thus, Sarna religion came into existence. There are priests and an assistant priests called "Naikey" and "Kudam Naike" in every Santhal village.

[edit] Tribal metalwork

Most of the metal works are done for agricultural purpose, hunting and weapons. There are specific communities like Lohar, Malhar and Thentri have expertise in metal work.

[edit] References

[edit] External links

Ranchi People

The Ranchi people depend largely on the mineral industries in Ranchi for employment. The minerals that are extensively available in Ranchi include coal, ornamental stones, limestone and asbestos. The Ranchi people also have extensive dependence on agriculture. According to the 2001 census report of India, there were 4,75,995 cultivators in Ranchi. The males and the females work nearly in equal numbers in cultivation. In the mineral industries though, the scenario is little different. In the industrial sectors, the ratio of male workers to female workers is nearly 5:1. People of Ranchi are well educated. There is nearly 74% literacy rate in Ranchi.

The tribe population in Ranchi is quite high. According to the 2001 census report, the tribe population was recorded to be 1,164,624. The main tribes of Ranchi include Munda and Oraon. The languages that are widely spoken in Ranchi include Hindi, Mundari, Oraon, Nagpuri and Kurmali. The urban people in Ranchi can communicate in English language.

Rice, pulses and millets are staple diets of people of Ranchi. Vegetarian dishes are also preferred by the Ranchi people. The hotels in Ranchi, though, serve non vegetarian and continental dishes.

The Ranchi people are very congenial in nature. The tourists find people of Ranchi very cooperative.

To:  The President of India, The Supreme Court of India

Abolish reservations
The founding fathers of our nation wanted to uplift the downtrodden and bring them into the national mainstream. In nascent India, the downtrodden were generally those communities which were considered "untouchables", and also other communities which were tribal and nomadic in nature. Therefore, they provided reservations in jobs for persons belonging to such communities, so that their disadvantage may be compensated. While it is true that 50 years ago, almost all the families in these communities were backward or downtrodden, it is also true that presently, backwardness and poverty are not restricted to only these communities. On hindsight, it does appear that our founding fathers made a colossal mistake in basing the reservations on a person's birth. While it is true that many persons belonging to the backward communities have progressed, it is questionable whether their progress can be attributed solely to the advantage obtained through reservations. It is more likely that such affluent families belonging to backward communities have progressed owing to hard work and disciplined lifestyles.
While it is debatable whether reservations have helped in uplifting the backward communities, it is true that this measure has given rise to two unnecessary consequences. Firstly, there are several persons belonging to the backward communities who do not wish to work hard and compete with the best, as they are sure of getting jobs owing to reservations. This has caused a lackadaisical approach amongst many persons belonging to the backward communities. Secondly, there are persons among the forward communities who have been denied jobs or promotions inspite of performing better than those favoured by reservations. This has caused anger, jealousy and hatred amongst the affected families belonging to the forward communities. Persons who belong to forward communities, but who have been deprived of fruits in spite of outperforming the one favoured by reservations, therefore opt to work outside India. The current policy of reservations has not eliminated the caste differences. On the contrary, it has strengthened the same and lead to hatred within society. It has merely inverted the caste hierarchy of ancient times.
In order to move towards an egalitarian society, we need to abolish caste system. Instead, reservations are strengthening the same and causing hatred amongst people. This suits the politician and hence reservations which were originally intended for a few years have been extended till today.
Nowadays, reservations are being justified by some persons by the argument that some communities were oppressed since centuries. However, it is patently unfair to set right a bad practice by indulging in another malafide practice. If the same logic were to be applied, one community can complain of harassment by another foreign invading community and will demand the right to harass the other community to set right an old mistake. Two wrongs do not make a right. Such logic is sadistic and will definitely cause immense harm to all people.
If reservations on the basis of birth is against merit, so is reservation for the rich in the form of management quotas and capitation fees. Reservation in any form needs to be abolished if we wish to prosper as a nation. We need to devise a system wherein a bright yet economically poor person, can compete with his wealthy counterparts. Lack of finance and resources should not deter intelligent and hardworking persons from working their way up the ladder. Instead of reserving seats, jobs and discouraging competition, we need to provide the poor with free knowledge and resources. We can provide free education, free books, scholarships and even free food to candidates who are bright and deserving, so that they are not hindered in competing with those who are economically well-off. It should be left to the individual to make good of the knowledge and resources made available to him and thus grab the opportunity when it comes his way. Reserving seats and jobs for persons who have obtained all resources freely, but who still lag behind in competition will definitely affect merit.
Merit needs to be the prime yardstick in any selection. This can be surely done only if we discourage caste system by becoming truly secular: by abolishing all references to caste & religion in public life and in gubernatorial affairs. If this is not done, the people who are adversely affected by reservations will breed contempt for India as a State, although they will love India as their country. Frustrated at being constantly deprived, in spite of performing better than those benefited by reservations, such groups may demand a land of their own. It may well be impossible for all judicial, legislative, and even military attempts to thwart such a demand and another partition will not be far if the present policy is continued. Such a policy of favouring persons on the basis of their birth will surely pave the way for balkanization of India, which we need to avoid.


The Undersigned

View Current Signatures


On reservations in the private sector


A policy of reservation in the private sector would definitely not affect its "efficiency", but would help in a small way in correcting historically entrenched and still pervasive social discrimination.

IT is commonplace to say about debates that they "generate more heat than light" or that "the opposing sides have missed the essential point". But here is one debate where it is difficult to say either. The Indian debate has definitely generated both a lot of heat and light, and there are clearly valid points made at both ends of the spectrum. So the discussion on reservation policy is rich indeed, full of insight and careful reflection, even if the statistical basis on which various arguments are based is not ideal and large gaps remain in our knowledge of the full extent of existing social discrimination and the actual effects of past reservation policies.

Reservation in public sector education and employment is a particularly (but not uniquely) Indian practice enshrined in the Constitution, a legal form of affirmative action designed to provide greater opportunities to communities and social groups that have been traditionally deprived and excluded.

The emotions generated by reservations are well known (witness the public agitations at the time of the partial implementation of the Mandal Commission recommendations). But the more recent interest in the subject was awakened by the promise made by the United Progressive Alliance (UPA) government in its National Common Minimum Programme (NCMP) in 2004, to provide for reservations in the private sector.

Subsequently, the controversial Supreme Court ruling on reservation in private higher education institutions and the consequent moves towards enabling legislation in this regard have further stoked the fire. The resulting spate of articles on the subject has been of such fecundity that ordinary citizens can be forgiven for feeling quite bewildered and being unable to wade through the differing positions.

How useful, then, to have a book which brings together almost all the important recent writing on the subject, from all the different (and often violently differing) perspectives. (Reservations and Private Sector: Quest for Equal Opportunity and Growth, edited by Sukhdeo Thorat, Aryama and Prashant Negi, New Delhi: Indian Institute of Dalit Studies and Rawat Publications, 2005.)

The book covers a wide range of approaches to the issue, from reviews of the theoretical literature on discrimination and market behaviour, to debates on the issue of reservation versus merit, to the relationship with globalisation and to caste and identity politics, to a broader consideration of other remedies and other forms of affirmative action.

The book is especially useful because it includes all kinds of contributions, from thoughtful scholarly articles to more polemical and passionate journalistic writings, and from all sides of the debate, so that it provides a comprehensive sense of the issues and positions that are currently under discussion. It also covers various aspects and possible mechanisms of affirmative action, in both education and employment.

A reading of this volume clarifies some points that are of central importance in approaching the entire issue of social discrimination and its remedies, including affirmative action and reservation in the current context.

Several articles effectively debunk the supposed contradiction between reservations on the one hand and merit and efficiency on the other. There is substantial theoretical literature on the co-existence of markets and discrimination (whether in terms of caste, community or gender), and on how such discrimination reduces the efficiency of the economy - in which case affirmative action to reduce such discrimination can only increase efficiency. In any case, it is well known that the Indian private sector also employs wide ranging discriminatory practices that are inherently inefficient such as inheritance determining managerial control and preferential employment based on social networks.

It is now widely accepted across the world that diversity makes economies (and indeed, firms) more, rather than less, competitive. The example of countries such as Malaysia, which combined a very severe and restrictive form of reservation and other affirmative action with remarkable economic growth for several decades, points to this. So the debate on merit versus affirmative action is exposed as fundamentally false.

The empirical evidence also points squarely to the strong and still pervasive persistence of social discrimination (which can be related to, but is not the same as, economic disparity) in India. So extensive is this that few would deny the reality of continued discrimination and exclusion. And certainly even the opponents of reservation in this volume accept this reality. Rather, the debate appears to hinge more on the precise form that affirmative action should take.

Those who oppose the policy of reservation operate primarily with the following arguments: perceptions of "victimhood" and the creation of democratically undesirable identity politics; inequalities within the specified communities, which allow a "creamy layer" to take advantage of the reservations and benefit unduly while depriving the rest of the community; the rigid and inflexible nature of the instrument of reservation, which does not allow for more creative modes of affirmative action; the privileging of some caste-based discrimination while ignoring other and possibly more undesirable forms of exclusion; the compression of the notion of social justice into just reservation, instead of encompassing broader socio-economic policies such as land reform and other asset redistribution and strategies of income generation.

There is certainly some relevance to each of these points, and no one would deny that the system that has operated in India thus far has been inadequate not only in addressing these issues, but also in achieving the goals set in terms of filling the allocated quotas even in public education and employment. Yet, even these failures are indicators of the continued prevalence of widespread social discrimination, which operates in addition to other forms of inequality of access.

Thus, one of the problems of the system of reservation in the public sector is that there has been no institutional mechanism of incentives and disincentives to ensure effective affirmative action. At the moment, there are "legal" requirements for filling certain quotas, but there are no penalties for public institutions that do not fill them, or rewards for those that more than fulfil them. That is, at least, part of the reason why so many quotas remain unfulfilled.

However, while reservations have been inadequate and relatively rigid instruments of affirmative action, they do have certain advantages that explain why they have been preferred. They are transparent, inexpensive to implement and monitor and therefore easily enforceable. Any other system of affirmative action must have these attributes in order to be practical. The problem with systems based on periodic audit of institutions to check on their "diversity" is that they do not have equal transparency and enforceability.

This is not to discredit the possibility of other instruments of affirmative action being developed - indeed, the very complexity of the discrimination and exclusion in Indian society suggests the need for a multiplicity of instruments that would work together to create more democratic and equitable outcomes.

The basic issue, of course, is that the roots of discrimination go much deeper, in that social and economic disparities are deeply intertwined, although in increasingly complex ways. Certainly, the lack of asset ownership among Dalit and other deprived communities is critical in determining other forms of discrimination. And deprivation in terms of early access to quality education is increasingly becoming the most crucial determinant of subsequent life achievement for many socially and economically marginalised groups.

So the debate on reservation in the private sector must be seen within a broader perspective, as being a policy that would definitely not affect "efficiency" of private sector functioning, but still would go a small part of the way in correcting historically entrenched and still pervasive social discrimination.

Reservation Is A Means For Empowerment

By Fr. G. Cosmon Arokiaraj
New Delhi, Nov. 01, 2006 (CBCI News):

Amidst the row on increasing reservation in educational institutions, in the context of Ranganath Misra commission finalizing its report and Dalit Christians campaigning for their equal rights, the Supreme Court has attempted to balance equality of opportunity with the quest for social justice by the excluded groups in the Indian society.

Allowing reservation in promotion for SC/ST communities, the court said that the state has to justify that the SC/STs are not adequately represented and that the administrative efficiency is not adversely affected.

The Court said – the creamy layer of well-off people among SC/ST/OBCs should not benefit from quotas in jobs and education. It further emphasized that reservations should not exceed 50 per cent.

Reflecting on these recent developments, let me outline the following points for further discussion and action:

v Reservations have done much good and provided employment to SC/ST communities in India. If they are abolished in the present context of intense competition, the condition of SC/ST communities would be worse.

v Education is the means of social empowerment and reservation in the educational institutions has helped those in the deprived sections of society to have vertical mobility in the social strata.

v Justifying the policy to provide reservation, the Centre has said, "The Centre and various State Governments have found caste, apart from other categories such as disability, to be a reasonable basis for determining who must benefit from reservation. The socially and educational backward castes are therefore universally recognized as being in dire need of reservation to undo centuries of prejudice and inequality." Hence, one cannot hide the fact that Indian society, including the Indian Church, is a caste-ridden society and there is an urgency to address and eradicate caste prejudices that are operating and re-enacting in various forms in the society.

v First of all, there is a need to find out whether there is a "creamy layer" among SC/ST communities by evaluating the implementation of the Reservation Policy. The opinion that the real needy will benefit only when there is the removal of creamy layer compels the government to make a thorough study on "creamy layer" taking into consideration the various factors that affect the SC/ST population. Can we compare a SC or ST officer in the creamy layer who hails from a landless uneducated family with another non-SC or ST officer in the creamy layer who is from a highly educated land owning family? How can we respond to the caste prejudices that are prevailing in the higher institutions of learning? One cannot forget the fact that almost everyday, the news papers carry the incidents of atrocities perpetrated on SCs and STs, from higher centers of learning to remote villages.

v Likewise, a proper study has to be done as to how promotion rules were really operating and whether efficiency had in any manner suffered. Efficiency is not reserved for upper castes alone.

v The Christians of Scheduled Caste origin (Dalit Christians) have been struggling for more than fifty years to get equal rights. Various studies have proved that conversion to Christianity has not altered the social economical status of the converted Christians. Because they are Christians, they are not spared in communal violence and abuses of upper and dominant caste communities. Nor are they treated equally by the upper caste Christians.

v The Dalit Christians, though they are Dalits, are deprived of civil and legal safeguards and protection that is provided for Hindu Dalits under the Protection of Civil Rights Act 1976, Untouchability (Offenses) Act 1955 and SC/ST (Prevention of Atrocities) Act 1989. Thus they stand vulnerable to the abuses and attacks of the dominant castes, without any possibility of legal redressal.

v Besides, the Government has already amended the Constitution (Scheduled Castes) Order) 1950 twice: first, in 1956 to include Dalit Sikhs and next in 1990 to include Dalit Buddhists in the Scheduled Castes. The Government did already think over the demand of the Dalit Christians and prepared the draft amendment bill in 1996. The Statement of Objects and Reasons of Bill NO.17 of 1996 says:

"Converts to the Christian religion who are of the Scheduled Castes origin are precluded from the statutory benefits and safeguards accruing to members of the Scheduled Castes. Demands have been made from time to time for extending these benefits and safeguards to the Christians of the Scheduled Castes origin by granting them recognition as the Scheduled Castes on the ground that the change of religion has not altered their social and economic conditions. Upon due consideration of these demands, it is proposed to amend the relevant Constitution (Scheduled Cates) Orders to include the Christian converts from the Scheduled Castes as the Scheduled Castes therein. Hence the Bill."

It is clear from the above statement that the government is asserting that the 'change of religion has not altered social and economic conditions' and that it has 'duly considered the demand and proposed to amend the Order' and the statement holds good even now when the caste violence is so open and the number is on the increase.

It is good to recall the promise made in the Election manifesto 2004 by the Congress Party: "The Congress believes in affirmative action for all religious and linguistic minorities…The Congress is committed to adopting this policy for socially and educationally backward sections among Muslims and other religious minorities on a national scale. The Congress also pledges to extend reservations for the economically deprived persons belonging to communities that are at present not entitled to such reservations." As the winter session of the Parliament is fast approaching, the Christians of the Scheduled Caste origin hope that the UPA government headed by Congress would reintroduce the amendment bill in the parliament.

Reservation policy is one of the essential means to include the excluded groups in the democratic process and to pave the way for their empowerment. It is a way to realize social justice in Indian society marred with historical exclusion of groups and social inequalities. Any attempt to dismantle the Reservation policy would result in social disharmony and social instability.


[Fr. G. Cosmon Arokiaraj, Executive Secretary, CBCI Commission for SC/ST/BC, CBCI Centre, 1 Ashok Place, New Delhi-110 001. E-mail:]

Reservation for Muslims, Why?

By Syed Ubaidur Rahman, Thursday, 26 February 2009 - 20:12:57 IST

Muslims in India recently launched a movement seeking reservation for the impoverished community in jobs and education. This is probably the first time in the history of Independent India that Muslims representing all sects, organizations and forums came together on a single platform demanding reservation for them.

Though no one is sure as to how long this bonhomie of Muslim organizations will continue and how long they will be able to sit together forgetting their internal squabbling, but so far they have been able to concentrate on the issue. And before Lok Sabha elections they want to up the ante against the government on the issue of quota for community. They are furious that instead of implementing Justice Ranganath Mishra Commission report, the UPA government did not bother to even table the report in Parliament. Justice Ranganath Mishra, a former Chief Justice of India had submitted the report to Prime Minister Dr Manmohan Singh on 22 May, 2007.

During the first large meeting on the issue of reservation held at India Islamic Cultural Centre that of late has become a center of community activities in New Delhi, Muslim leaders tried to make the right noises. They seem to have taken a cue from Gujjar agitation and are preparing for a long haul. It is not yet clear how they will accomplish an agitation of the same scale as Gujjar agitation in Rajathan that often turned violent.

A retired judge of Rajasthan High Court, Justice (Retd.) Mohammad Yamin while speaking at the jam-packed meeting said, the Muslim community should get ready for a long fight for this cause (reservation). Giving example of Gujjar movement he said Gujjar community has sacrificed 25 lives for reservation which remains a dream for them even now.

Another delegate from Kerala E M Abdur Rahiman who heads Popular Front of India also made similar remarks. He said, "the demand for Muslim reservation will require a sustained and continuous struggle and the community should be ready for it. Whatever reservation Muslims got in Kerala, Karnataka and Tamil Nadu is the result of decades' long efforts of social organizations there".

During the United Progressive Alliance's five-year rule, two important reports on Muslims were submitted before the government. One was Sachar Committee report that laid bare the plight of Muslims in India and their lack of representation in jobs and education. The report also detailed as to how Muslims were discriminated in almost every segment of government as well as private sector.

More important than the Sachar report was Justice Mishra Commission report that still awaits its turn to be tabled in Parliament. Way back in 1983, Gopal Singh Commission's findings were not very different from what Sachar Committee found almost a quarter century later.

Mishra Commission report has changed the whole dynamics of debate on Muslim reservation in the country. So far there was a preconceived notion that reservation for Muslims was untenable on constitutional ground.

Mishra Commission clearly said that religion was no basis to deny a community the benefit of reservation. "We recommend that in the matter criteria for identifying backward classes there should be absolutely no discrimination whatsoever between the majority community and the minorities; and, therefore, the criteria now applied for this purpose to the majority community - whatever that criteria may be - must be unreservedly applied also to all the minorities", the commission said.

It went on to add, "As a natural corollary to the aforesaid recommendation we recommend that all those classes, sections and groups among the minorities should be treated as backward whose counterparts in the majority community are regarded as backward under the present scheme of things�To be more specific, we recommend that all those social and vocational groups among the minorities who but for their religious identity would have been covered by the present net of Scheduled Castes should be unquestionably treated as socially backward, irrespective of whether the religion of those other communities recognises the caste system or not".

In another path-breaking recommendation the Commission asked the government to treat equivalent of Schedule Castes among Muslims and Christians as such and give them reservation under similar quotas. "We also recommend that those groups among the minorities whose counterparts in the majority community are at present covered by the net of Scheduled Tribes should also be included in that net; and also, more specifically, members of the minority communities living in any Tribal Area from pre-independence days should be so included irrespective of their ethnic characteristics".

Given the low education level among minorities, the commission asked the government to give them15 percent reservation in educational institutions. "�we strongly recommend that, by the same analogy and for the same purpose, at least 15% seats in all non-minority educational institutions should be earmarked by law for the minorities�" the commission added.

On the line of quota in educational institutions the Commission recommended 15 percent reservation for minorities in central and state government jobs. "Since the minorities - especially the Muslims - are very much under-represented, and sometimes wholly unrepresented, in government employment, we recommend that they should be regarded as backward in this respect within the meaning of that term as used in Article 16 (4) of the Constitution - notably without qualifying the word 'backward' with the words "socially and educationally" - and that 15% of posts in all cadres and grades under the Central and State Governments should be earmarked for them�", the Commission said.

Syed Shahabuddin, a former MP who now heads Joint Committee of Muslim Organizations for Empowerment (JCMOE), spearheading the demand for Muslim reservation says, "Muslim community today is demanding reservation as a Backward Class, as a deprived group, who is almost as backward as the SC/ST and more backward than the non-Muslim OBC's. It is not staking any historical claim or desiring any preferential or special dispensation".

Shahabuddin says it is notable that the total space covered by reservations has widened over the years and has made it more difficult for any deprived group, which does not enjoy reservation, to compete on equal terms with the more advanced groups. "In fact, OBC Muslim cannot fairly compete with other relatively advanced groups within the OBC quota. This is a general phenomenon and explains why there is a rising surge for categorization based on relative levels of development within the SCs, ST's and OBC's, because in each case a relatively advanced minority receives disproportionately larger benefit to the deprivation and denial of the others".

When asked about the long standing argument of arzal (lower) Muslim castes giving similar argument that their quota will be usurped by afzal (upper castes) groups in the community, he said that they can be given reservation within reservation based on their ratio in population. Shahabuddin said that this way any dispute in this regard can be sorted out.

Syed Ubaidur Rahman is the editor of Khabrein.Info He is based in New Delhi

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