‘All India Tribal Forum’ formed to unite tribal struggles and raise their issues


  • May 21, 2023
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21 May, 2023

 

An one-day All India Tribal Convention was held today at Visakhapatnam. Over 600 delegates from 11 states engaged in the struggle of the tribals participated in the convention. The convention organised in the backdrop of rising attacks on the tribal communities resolved to form an ‘All India Tribal Forum’ to fight for Tribal Rights for land and livelihood, for the Right of Tribals ‘Development without Displacement’, to ‘Save Forests and Environment’ and to prevent Climate Change and ‘Natural’ disasters.

 

The Convention began with an appeal by the Chief Guest, renowned tribal author and activist, Dr. Vasavi Kiro from Jharkhand to fight for formulation of a New Tribal policy which will ensure development of tribal languages and culture and ensure formation of a Tribal History Academy. In her 42 minute address Dr. Kiro said there are more than 700 million Indigenous people in the world, of which 200 million reside in India. India has more than 750 ethnic tribes of which 75 are most vulnerable. Their social, cultural, economic and political situation is very grave. She said Adivasis in India suffer because of state policy which is based on ‘development induced displacement’, loot of forests and natural wealth, land alienation, degradation of nature, failure to recognize their indigenous religions like Sarna and attempts to forcefully assimilate them into Hindu religion, failure to implement their Constitutional and legal rights. She said of the 10 crore people uprooted in India 80% are Adivasis and Indigenous people.

 

EAS Sarma, retired Secy to GOI, addressing the delegates said that the govt is bulldozing the Adivasis, attacking their rights and it should be mandatory that permission of Gram Sabhas, Tribal Councils be taken in all matters pertaining to them. But this government is so anti people that it does not consult even the National ST Commission.

 

Senior Journalist Ramanamurthy hailed the Convention for raising the issue of Constitutional rights of tribals and trying to unify the Adivasi movements all over the country.

 

Guest speaker, senior Advocate and writer on Adivasi issues, Pala Trinadh Rao explained in detail the legal and constitutional securities for Adivasis in Scheduled areas and how the govt is undermining them to favour Corporations and MNCs. He was sharp in his attack on alienation of tribal lands for mining, reforestation, Tiger Sanctuaries, Polavaram and other projects and on changes being made in law and in rules for these purposes. He said a determined struggle on the ground helps in asserting the rights legally also.

 

A book, “Bharat ki Krantikari Adivasi Auratein” written by Dr. Vasavi Kiro was released by AIKMS President, V. Venkatramaiah from the dais. Speaking after this, Venkatramaiah appealed for widest possible unity of all Adivasi groups to wage a determined struggle for tribal rights.  He appealed to all to learn from the SKM formation and struggle against the three anti-farmer black laws. He said we must build joint struggles on the basis of issues.

 

Various delegates spoke and gave their suggestions. The Convention unanimously resolved to form an ‘All India Tribal Forum’ to fight for Tribal Rights for land and livelihood, for the Right of Tribal ‘Development without Displacement’ and to ‘Save Forests and Environment’ and to prevent Climate Change and ‘Natural’ disasters. The Convention concluded with the 600 plus delegates from 11 states approving the formation of a 15 member Forum Committee. The Committee has been given the responsibility to expand the Forum and struggle.

 

In a press release the organisers said,

 

We come together as a Forum to raise the issues faced by the vast multitude of tribals, unite all the tribals inhabiting different parts of India, wage struggles to do away with the obstacles in our striving for a better life, for even basic essentials of life and against forces exploiting and oppressing us. Let us take up programmes of action for realisation of our rights and unite all forces willing and prepared to move in this direction. We should combine these efforts with those of others akin in aim and complementary in practice.

 

The Forum will fight that our forests, land and natural resources should not be handed over to MNCs and Corporate. We will fight back the notion of Development which results in alienating us from our lands, life and livelihood. Let us fight for recognition of our rights over our lands and against dispossession from our land. Let us fight against forcible displacement.

We come together to fight for our right over forest produce and its guaranteed sale on remunerative prices. Let us fight for MSP for minor forest produce and for guaranteed state procurement to ensure sale.

We unite to protect our culture and develop our languages. We will struggle for the right to preserve and avow our religion.

We will struggle for autonomy in our areas. Let us fight for access to all government welfare services, for education and health facilities by govt. which are oriented to our needs.

We fight for full implementation of reservation in jobs and educational institutions.

We unite and fight against harassment of police and forest officials, against foisting of false cases, against UAPA and other black laws, against police and paramilitary camps in tribal areas and against all forms of state repression. We unite to fight against attacks by landlords, contractors and other anti-tribal elements against us.

 

The convention passed four resolutions:

 

  1. Condemning repression on tribals in Burhanpur in MP, Chhattisgarh and other parts of India including air strikes in Dandakaranya;

 

  1. Supporting women wrestlers and demanding arrest of BJP MP Brij Bhushan Singh;

 

  1. Condemning RSS sponsored communal conflagration and violence in Manipur, demanding not to infringe upon existing of tribal groups; and

 

  1. condemning gang rape on tribal women by para military forces in Vakapalli in AP.

 

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