Nature Talk V3I6
Tribals have right over the forest and the place of their in-habitation is being recognized by the Act of the parliament: “The Scheduled Tribes and Other Traditional Forest Dwellers (Recognition of Forest Rights) Act, 2006”. This act, not withstanding, the tribals feel threatened whenever they find initiation of the development activities around their habitation by the private or public enterprises. They naturally resist such initiatives and all related measures to displace them. Such resistance has been growing since the early nineties, when the Indian economy was ushered into the regime of liberalization, globalization and privatization. The earth under tribal habitation being invariably rich with mineral resources appears irresistibly attractive to the (predator) corporations and no effort is left to acquire this piece of earth. Even with such Act, the impression that the governments are colluding with these corporations in satiating their rapacity for such tribal lands hardly fades On the contrary Government’s sincerity becomes suspect when one finds the tribals, reluctant to leave their home and hearth, facing all kinds of skullduggery that the corporations resort to with the overzealous support from the Government.
In this context it is important to give some thought to what is happening in Narayanpatna (sanhati.com/articles/1917) in Odisha and Lalgarh(sanhati.com/frontpage/1083) in West Bengal. The tribals in Narayanpatna are trying to recover their land that they had, over the generations, lost to the non-tribals. In Lalgarh the threat of dispossession from the land has united the tribals against the Government. The urge to recover the lost land and the resistance to the attempts to dispossess them from their land dominate the present tribal psyche. No government committed genuinely to democracy should ignore this psyche or assume that with force it can be suppressed, be it on any alibi.
It is therefore important that every attempt should be made by the government to alleviate the wrong that the tribals have been subjected to since ages and protect them from any wrong that may happen to them. The onus lies with the government to prove itself as belonging to them. Any feeling of alienation on their part is not in the interest of social peace and harmony.
Restoration of land to the tribals and ban on their dispossession from land can erase the feeling of alienation.
Those who are worried about the growing feeling of alienation amongst tribals anxiously await as to when the tribals losing their land to non-tribals and corporations shall come to a halt.
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