Adivasi (editor: indigenous people, original inhabitants) communities have been historically marginalised and oppressed by the dominant communities and interests that exploit tribal lands, resources, minerals, and forests. The neo-liberal policies and schemes implemented by the State are leading to further Marginalisation of tribals. The onslaught on their civil, political, social, economic, and cultural rights has been continuing without any halt and these patterns perpetuate extreme form of deprivation in many ways. Their customary rights over natural resources such as forests, cultural identity, traditional knowledge including intellectual property rights, cultural heritage ...view middle of the document...
” (Promising Picture or Broken Future)
Even constitutional rights like the fifth schedule have been denied to tribals of South India except in Andhra Pradesh. The tribal population in Southern States, despite their demand to declare scheduled area, have been deprived schedule status for a long time. Contrary to Government claims that tribal populations are diffused in certain states, 4.3% of tribal population in Karnataka, 1.1% population in Kerala and 1.0% population in Tamilnadu, is concentrated in specific locations. The notification of these areas as scheduled area has not been done due to the insensitive approach of rulers and bureaucrats. Even though 6.3% of the tribal populace of Andhra Pradesh has scheduled areas, the tribal sub-plan has not been implemented properly.
The words ‘assimilation’ and ‘mainstream’ in the draft policy makes us question the ultimate goal of the former NDA (National Democratic Alliance) government. We demand to know how the current UPA (United Progressive Alliance) Government would respond to Adivasi demands for autonomy rather than assimilation.
The draft seems to be prepared in a hurry. The draft policy has completely ignored issues that have been controversial for a long period. One such issue is the religious categorization of Adivasis as Hindus irrespective of their own affiliation. The draft policy must rectify this.
Another area of critical importance is gender issue. Tribal women and girls suffer multiple forums of discrimination, exclusion and problems that are neglected by the draft policy.
The policy fails to refer to human rights. The normative basis of International Human Rights standards, principles and instruments and their backward linkages to national and domestic legal policy framework has been neglected. Therefore, the Government fails to implement these international obligations to protect and promote Adivasi rights.
The policy should address the concerns of Adivasi children’s survival, protection, development and participation with cultural and gender sensitivity.
Displacement and Land Alienation
The policy sanctions the displacement and land alienation of the tribals by stating that displacement can be allowed in the name of “public interest.” This paves the way to displace Indigenous people for every dam, mining, and tourism development that is deemed “in the public interest.” Already the issue of forced eviction is looming large in the denial of rights in Nagarahole in Karnataka, and due to the proposed extension of wild life sanctuaries Masinagudi in Nilgiris, Kodaikkanal in Tamilnadu. Tribal communities of Arraku and Borra caves in Andhra Pradesh are facing innumerable problems (cultural assault, etc.), due to Ecotourism development by the state government. The Forest Department in Kerala in nexus with the tourism department has opened up ecologically fragile and sensitive areas that would affect...