RAJASTHAN: Tribals Court Arrest on Indigenous People's Day

ON August 9, hundreds of adivasis marched from Mohta Park   braving the incessant rains and reached the office of the divisional commissioner to raise their demands of land rights, forest rights, proper health care services and education facilities in the tribal regions. They were observing the indigenous people's day following the call of All India Kisan Sabha, Adivasi Adhikar Manch, Adivasi-Kisan Sangharsh Samiti, Adivasi Jan Adhikar Ekta Manch, Centre of Indian Trade Unions (CITU) and other fraternal organisations. The rally was led by Brinda Karat, CPI(M) Polit Bureau member and former MP, Rajesh Singhvi, president CITU, Prabhu Lal Bhagora, district president of AIKS,  Shanker Lal Pargi, secretary, Hakar Chand Kharadi, Adivasi Kisan Sangharsh Samiti and Sanjay Madhav. 

The rally was preceded by a public meeting at Mohta Park which was addressed by all the above and a few more Party leaders. Addressing the meeting, Brinda Karat said that the union government as well as the state government of Rajasthan is anti-tribal, anti-dalit and anti-farmer. They are usurping the land and other resources of the tribals and poor farmers. In Udaipur itself, adivasi's huts were recently demolished and people were arrested despite the assurance of the divisional commissioner himself. In other places, adivasis are being displaced in order to provide the land to some influential people for plantation. She said that the chief minister of Rajasthan is taking out ‘Gaurav Yatra’ while the peasants and tribal people are being harassed and displaced. She alleged that it is an election gimmick. Even the declaration of a holiday on International Indigenous People's Day in some districts is an election gimmick and a step to ensure crowd in CM's meetings, she said.

Brinda Karat said the union government is abusing National Investigating Agency to harass people who take up people's rights issues and demand justice for them. In the name of national security, the rights of indigenous people are thwarted and the corporate houses are benefited by the government, usurping the rights of adivasis. She said that the state government of Rajasthan is blatantly violating the Forests Rights Act and is using other coercive laws and regulations to usurp the rights of the adivasis of Rajasthan.

Rajesh Singhvi said that a memorandum addressed to the prime minister bearing signatures of five thousand tribals was submitted to the commissioner. The demands included implementation of Swaminathan Commission's report, raising MSP of all the crops, writing off all types of loans of the tribal people, giving land ownership documents (patta) to all the people settled in forest lands and other places. The rally began  from Mohta Park and culminated at Divisional Commissioner's office where hundreds of tribals and peasants courted arrest.


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