Violence in Tribal Regions of India: Problems and Remedies

Venue: S.D.C. Kamil Bulke Path, Puruliya Road Ranchi.

Scholars present at the National Consultation programme from left RajaGopal P.V.(President, Ekta Parishad), R.E.V. Kujur (Rtd. I.G.), LAVNAM and Swami Agnivesh

The three days of the National Consultation on violence in Tribal Regions of India was jointly organaized by SAPA, Ekta Parishad, Gujarat Vidyapeeth, PRIA, CASA, Jal Biradari, OXFAM (India) Vani, SANSAD SAMVAD, Sajha Manch (Jharkhand) and Naya Sawera Vikas Kendra from 7th August to 9th August 2011, at Social Development Canter (SDC), Kamil Bulke Path, Puruliya Road Ranchi.

The representatives of all the jointly organized organizations from whole over India actively participated in the National Consultation programme.

The aims and objective of the National Consultation programme was to find and discuses on the violence on Adivasi’s of various regions of India and come up with some remedial masseurs of violence and development apportunities. The objectives of the programme could be consolidated on the following points:

· The analysis of violence of Tribal areas and its effects.

· The focus and analysis of Media, Government, Political groups and Urban Sector.

· The possibilities of compromise and ratification.

· The local, state and national level possible action.

· Strategies and Declaration

Tribal traditional lamp

Sawami Agnivesh inaugurating the programme by lightning the tribal traditional lamp

Guests being welcomed and taken to the stage with traditional cultureal songs and dance

The three days of National Consultation on violence in tribal regions of India began on 7th August 2011. The guest were welcomed to the stage with traditional Adivasi cultural dance. Having reached to the stage the guest of the day Swami Agnivesh inaugurated the three of days of the programme by lightning of the tribal traditional lamp (lamp used in marriage ceremony for welcoming the bridegroom’s party at the arrival of the bride’s house). The burning lamp is the symbol of good omen..

Like the flam of lamp the zest of participants rejuvenated hopping that the result of the National Consultation programme would be the key stone to bring changes among tribal’s and give a ray of hope in their lives. The stage was managed by Babulal Sharma.

Morning to till evening the participants were fully engaged and engulfed in the hot discussion on the problems and remedies of tribals. Swami Agnivesh, Madhu Keshwar, Mohan Hirabhai, Hirala, Askok Chawdhri, Fr. Swami Mathiu and R. E. V. Kujur being a first day’s speakers presented their views on the violence and problems of tribals and remedies.

Mr. Babulal Sharma; managing stage.

Mr. Babulal leaving no space to participants to feel board in the programme handed over to Mr. Anil to continue the programme. In his vibrant presentation Mr. Anil said that we promote violence consciously and unconsciously; we give toys (gun) to our children. However, violence is not the response to violence but rather non-violence, he added. People often try to use violence to control the violence. Anil gave the example of Salwa Judum which is promoted by government to have control over Naxalism. Furthermore, he shared the aims and objectives of the joint organization. Today government has become self centred and does not want to provide service to the real needy people therefore we had to organise such joint national consultation programme so that with collective work we could change the situation of tribal’s.

Mr. Raja Gopal presenting his view on rapid spread of violence in Adivasi belt (Left), and participants making consideration on his words (right).

Mr. Raj Gopal the secretary of Ekta Parishad traced the initial phase of the organisation (Ekta Parishad). He his presentation was fully focussed on the rapid spread of violence in Adivasi belt. He said that there are various political and economical factors equally reason to promote violence in the tribal belt. He also suggested and requested all the groups (NGO’s, civilian societies and other groups) to come together and work collectively against the violence following the right guidance of the good thinkers, experts and experienced social workers. The government used police called “Peace Force” to stop violence but instead of stopping the violence police force increased violence among people, he added. The jointly organisation want to work from the grass root level that’s why the National Consultation Programme organized at the state level.

Swami Agnivesh presenting his view on violence

National Consultation programme participants

Swami Agnivash presented his views of violence on Adivasi. He said, “There is strong responce against the violence of Dalits and Muslims communities. Unfortunately through there is much more violence on Adivasi there is no voice in response on behalf of Adivasi.” He respected and admired the culture of Adivasi and said; “Adivasi culture is one of the most primitive and best culture in the society.” From the beginning the Adivasi’s have been the victims of violence but after the independence the violence has increased. There are several good provisions for Adivasi, If government had wanted to improve their lifestyle, the Adivasi’s life style would have been uplifted from the present miserable situations. After the independence government has increased the violence by displacing the adivasis. Likewise other inhuman treatment forced the innocent Adivasis to migrate other place in search of peaceful place to live.

Swami Agnivesh, traced the encounter of Dantaweda (Chhatishgarh). P. Chitamberam said that the government would keep dialogue with Maoiest but was not done. Swami Agnivash said that the government is not following the promise which government had made with Maoiest narrating the killing of Mr. Ajaad (Maoiest leader). According to the agreement the Mr. Ajaad came forward to talk with government on behalf of Maoiest and was kill by police. According to their (Maoiest & Gov.) agreement there suppose not be any encounter between them (Maoiest & Gov.) but it did not happen but rather policy kill Mr. Ajaad and Gov. said that he was kill in encounter added Swami Agnivesh.

Swami Agnivesh also said, “Injustice is the cause of Violence and Adivasi became the victims of it.” Government is the responsible for violence in the nation. After the election the leaders get trapped under the corporate agency whose strategies are not made concerning the welfare of the people. Corporate sectors just keep their ideas to establish peaceful society but instead establish the society where there is inequality and violence. This type of society and individualism are equally responsible for violence in the society. According to Swami Agnivesh the peaceful society is only possible when everybody respects the views and ideas of everybody, where discussion is made after consulting everybody in the community then only it is possible to have democratic society where peace, love and charity prevails.

Mr. Sidheswar Sardar; putting tribal’s problems and remedies in local areas.

Sidheshwar Sardar from Singbhum said, “We can’t save Adivasi by only gathering them but have jointly and collectively positive thinking towards them for their development.”

Fr. Sawri Mathu delivering his speech

Madhukeshwar said, “British rule and implementation of tax on the use of land, forest and water. The land was registered in the name of men.” Adivasis were kept aside from the market committee. Though Adivasi have their own land but could not fix the price of land but some others fix the rate of land. The higher authorities also misused the power.

Continuing Fr. Sawri Mathu said that we do not see the violence created by government. The identity and culture of Adivasi is Land, when their land is disturb adivasis come forward to save their identity and culture, while adivasi trying to protect their land by protest, the government see and conceptualizes the act as violence. “Neterhat Field Firing Rang” people could win the fight using non-violence. Rev. Fr. Mathu concluded the presentation saying, “Gram Sabha needs to be made strong so that it could maintain peaceful atmosphere among Adivasis.”

I.V. kujur delivering his speech

Similarly, I. V. Kujur focused his presentation on the various status and grief condition of Adivais. According to him outsider are cheating and robbing the Adivais in peaceful manner. Past few years the contractors and smugglers coming and getting registered the Adivasi land in their name at the point of gun. The weakest point of Adivasi is lack of Unity. Adivasi have to come forward in unity and fight for their rights.

Mr. Madhu Kiran said that the word Adivasi is traced from Upanishad and also said that British considered tribes whose written document did not exist. According to British document does not exists for adivasi because they were nomads, they don’t have permanent place, they cultivate grains till the fertility of land remains. Once the fertility of land gets over a tribe moves to another place and again starts cultivation. Those who practiced this were called Adivasi. Mr. Madhu Kiran also said that before the British rule to India the king’s rule existed. The king sited at the top, in middle others tribes and at the lowest and ground level the adivasi remained. Though the king was on the top but the land belonged to those who cultivated in the particular land. Likewise Jagmani System started and slowly adivasi lost their rights over land and thus started to migrate toward urban sector. it was also shared that the capitalism rapidly increased after the second world war and with failure of the Soviat Union.

The second day of National Consultation Programme also the intensive discussion and presentation continued under the guidance of the most experienced scholars. Magsaysay awarded (Jal Purush) Mr. Rajendra Singh said that there is no place for violence in the lifestyle and culture of Adivasi but corporate sector, government sector, political parties and criminal parties are the factors of cultivating violence acts and deeds in the minds of adivasi. While Adivasi straggle for securing their rights then the government smashes them down. Adivasi land is being taken away making false documents. When we all they come together systematically organized then we can make the Adivasi free from physically and psychologically violence.

Types of violence

Mrs. Kiran Sahani presenting her views of violence

According to Kiran Sahani there different types of violence like corporate violence, Maoiest violence, Political violence and criminal, thus the remedial measure must be accordingly. Mr. Raj Gopal said that all the violence on Adivasi takes place in the name of development. Individualistic is also the reason of violence. Once again Mr. Mehandi Lal said that the political groups conceptualize the violence according to their own choice and understanding. Likewise the government is equally responsible for creating violence among the people. When Supreme Court ordered to finish the Salwa Judum then it was replace with SPO’s and commandos.

“The cause of violence is not the poor and shabby condition but the richness, violence exists everywhere, not doing identified violence is coward” added Ramesh Sharma. The government taking the special protection act Eastern state trying to control the civilian societies and non-government organisations.

Mr. Ran Singh said that the government want to maintain violence so that the government has better scope of increasing the budget in the name of development. At the time of firing from both side the poor people become the victim of it.

Mr. Manoj Ray explicitly focused and put emphasis on the implementation of PASA act and said the systematic implementation of the act will reduce the violence in the Adivasi area.

The participants with sharing their views in the group discussions.

Having completed the presentation of all above mentioned scholars the participants had been divided into six groups assigning some questions to come with some recommendations and suggestion for Government, Corporate body, Civil Society, Other Civil Society Organizations and voluntary organizations in order to promote some opportunities for non violence environment and promotion of development. All the six groups suppose to come with their groups’ suggestion which would help drafting committee to prepare the declaration letter. The consolidated reports of group’s presentation have been illustrated bellow.

Future Opportunities for non violent environment and promotion of development

Ours Recommendations

Recommendations for Government:

· State needs to be remain as welfare state and not the police state.

· Administrative restructuring and reform in electoral process

· State should leave revenge full steps

· No parallel voluntary organization by state

· Implementations of PESA 96 in scheduled area to create and provide opportunities to community which may contribute in creating peaceful environment.

· The development paradigm should centrally focus the tribal philosophy/vision/ideology in its approach

· Equal distribution of natural resources

· Strictly implementation of CNT Act and SPT act

· The Tribal Advisory Council needs to be restructured and should be accountable to the people of scheduled area

· The migration of tribal people needs to be stopped and restored with strict provisions and support to tribal community

· In tribal area and general area the lower structure of PRI needs to be linked with developmental stream

· Government should strictly and transparently implement the national flagship programmes, various developmental acts/schemes etc to ensure their livelihood and other support system

· Land should not be transferred to any corporate sectors without approval of Gram Sabha

· Local organizations should be engaged in developmental work within the community

· The fund should not be transferred from TSP budget to other programmes.

· State should get more power and decentralized system to implement national flagship programmes

· A study by state needs to be conducted for getting exact figure of displaced people since independence and the investment made in rehabilitation. The further displacement needs to be stopped till the displaced people are not rehabilitated.

· Individual and community ownership on mineral ores needs to be given by state

· The programmes which strengthen community needs to be taken up by state.

· The judicial system needs to be faster and effective. Justice delayed means justice denied. We will find many such cases and this is also one of the major issues in creating conflicts within the state.

· State sponsored exploitative and violent measures needs to be stopped with immediate effect.

· The local language needs to be promoted

· Developmental programme of primitive tribes needs to be evaluated and strengthen accordingly. The reservation for Primitive tribes also needs to be implemented properly.

· Regularizing forest villages and converting it into revenue village in order to get all govt support. This is an important issue in Jharkhand.

· The extent of industrialization and making large cities needs to be redefined

· State should start dialogue with various violent groups

· Right to recall

· Developing conflict resolution mechanism within state

· Women should be respected at all levels of state intervention and response to such conflictual issues

· Spiritual thoughts needs to be promoted among all concerned stakeholders to resolve such issues

Recommendations for voluntary organizations:

· Strengthening Gram Sabha for more absorption capacity of developmental initiatives. Community should be capacitated on needs based localized planning process

· Making aware about tribal rights and various other existing opportunities

· The organizations which are working within tribal community. Their organization system and structure also needs to be qualitatively and quantitatively represented by tribal and women.

· Attitudinal change among organizations. Needs to be more tribal friendly.

· The community priority needs to be focused rather than the priority of support agencies.

· The institutional violent against tribal community even among voluntary organizations needs to be stopped

· Training for peaceful society

· More study on various act and issues related to tribal areas.

· Promotion of local leadership

Recommendations for Other Civil Society Organizations:

· Media needs to be more sensitive towards the exploitative mechanisms of tribal. Media should highlight small-small good examples to create positive environment in tribal area.

· Social watch on various intervention of state

· Legal intervention through PIL etc

· Dialogue with the various violent groups

· Coordination between state and naxalite groups

Recommendations for Corporate body:

· The corporate sectors can join us in developmental work but it should not be involved in the process of social change because they will hinder the process

· The fund of CSR should be deposited in the Govt account and state can work with Voluntary organizations

· Appropriate utilization of locally available natural resources

· Share of labour needs to be articulated properly in the industrial establishments

· More transparent system in the corporate institutions

· Cooperation of corporate in establishing local markets and local products needs to be ensured.

· Opportunities to local people by corporate sectors

· In the name of liberalization, corruption at all levels needs to be stopped

· Technical support to local villagers to ensure their livelihood.

· No SEZ, No tax holiday, no subsidy for corporate sectors

· Change in attitude of corporate towards taking things free

Recommendations for Civil Society:

· The whole developmental process needs to be driven as per need, traditions and culture of society

· Society should also understand its rights and responsibility

· Social evils like liquor consumption, Witch craft, superstitions etc needs to be responded by society itself.

· The decisive role of women in society

· Society should come forward to restore its own rights.

· Local produces needs to be promoted which help to get income and livelihood.

· Use of local wisdom and skill

· Boycott of corrupt politicians and govt officers

· More responsible social leaders needs to be promoted by the community

· Participation in local planning, cooperation in implementation, monitoring and evaluation of developmental programmes.

Taking all the above mentioned consolidated report the drafting committee prepared the declaration of letter National Consultation on violence in the tribal Regions of India for Government and Non-governmental organization.

Prasun Latant on the mike; reading declaration of the consultation and scholars on the stage from left; LAVNAM, Dr. Rose Kerketta (Chair Person of the day), Arun Das, S.C. Behar (Ex. Chief Secretary)

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